April 29, 2020

Score one for the Nuisance Animal Control Guys! They’ve been on-top-of-the-job, making regular visits to check on the humane skunk traps they placed after our olfactory discovery of Sir Stinks-a-Lot about two weeks ago.  

They came again last Saturday to check the traps, and could smell and see evidence of the critter still hanging around our back deck. This time, they upped the ante, adding a heap of cat food to both traps, and creating a dark cavernous tunnel around one of the traps out of a thick plastic garbage bag. Who knew skunks like cat food, and hiding in dark places? 

Sunday was wet and rainy, with some steady, heavy downpours around dinner time. With the impeccable timing of children and telemarketers, just after Rod and I sat down to eat dinner, Kiko our dog, needed to go out. I let him out in our fenced-in back yard, thinking he’d be ready to come in quickly since he doesn’t like the rain.

About 10 minutes later, I realized he was still out there, so I whistled for him and he didn’t come. Donning a jacket, I opened the door, fearful that he’d either escaped the yard, or found the skunk. One whiff, and I knew the latter had happened. I crept towards the plastic-bag-enclosed trap, and there was Kiko, gingerly trying to get at whatever was inside. I caught his attention and I am sure he caught my displeasure. He slinked, tail between his legs, soaking wet into the house. He hadn’t been sprayed (thank you, Jesus!), but was a sopping, wet-dog-fur-smelling mess. 

There was no way I was going to get any closer to that stinky trap before morning. Monday morning I got about 5 feet from the plastic-bag-entombed-trap and the smell was enough to convince me that our nocturnal friend had either sprayed inside the bag and escaped, or was still inside. I wasn’t about to get any closer. I placed a call to my new heroes who are now speed dial. They returned – and praise be to God – found the skunk inside. I trust disposed of him or her humanely.

A bird sitting on top of a metal cage

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There are so many ways this meditation could go. I could reflect on sin, or on fear, or on the many wonders of God’s creation and my lack of tolerance for an animal whose species inhabited this neck of the woods into which we humans have intruded. But in this season, at this particular point in time, I am reminded of how hard it is to live what feels like a normal life when an unseen, but potent force is right here in my own space. One encounter with the reality of the danger clung to me, something I couldn’t see, but could sense and smell. Something to be taken seriously. Something that required the intervention of experts, along with my cooperation with them. Something that took way too long to remedy in my impatience, but which indeed did come to an end. In addition to medical professionals, grocery store employees, truckers, farmers, restaurant workers, postal carriers, there is one more category of front-line workers for whom I thank God. Today I thank God for the guys who trap nuisances.

For all the unseen persons who serve the greater good, I give thanks. ~ Anne

Pastor Anne

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