Friday, January 18, 2013

Any Animal Totem Experts Out There?

As I wrapped a scarf around my daughter, I glimpsed through the window panes next to our front door.  A fellow bus stop kid, aged ten, was very nearly executing a perfect downward-facing dog toward our front lawn.This is not a typical, so I figured she was inspecting something awesome like our neighbor's big black Labrador marked his (our) territory AGAIN.

Anyway, the Girl and I stumbled blearily into the gray morning mist to await the bus. The Boy was annoyed with me because I insisted that he wear more than one sweatshirt in the forty-degree air, so he hung back on the porch. I figured I'd give the grass a once over to see what caught neighbor-girl's attention.

I didn't have to do that.  Before my boot even hit the step down to the walkway, the neighbor-girl cried, "Miss Mary! There's fur all over your lawn!"

I scrunched up my nose.  Fur?  I trod closer... Ick. Yes. Fur. Tufts of it smeared all over our lawn, like someone had gutted a comforter. Thankfully, no blood. Or arcane dark magic symbols.

"Looks like you're right, " I answered.  I mean, what's appropriate here? I didn't want to scream, "Ew, gross!" in front of a bunch of under-10 kids. So, I turned away from the kids and pulled a face.

One of my fellow bus stop mothers said, "It was probably a fox that got a squirrel."

"Well, that's awesome," I answered.  Surprisingly, my daughter had little interest in the fur tumbleweeds. I would have predicted that she would try and collect the fur and look for bones.  At the very least, I thought she would have insisted upon a gory blow-by-blow of the squirrel's demise. Instead, she wandered over to another little girl and they demonstrated their twirling abilities to each other, their puffy coats ballooning ever-so-slightly.

"Oh, Mommy," said the inquisitive neighbor-girl (who clearly has a very acute sense of hearing and a fairly strong stomach), "it probably WAS a fox.  Remember Mrs. [name redacted] said that she saw a fox?"

"Yes," she answered. "Now, go to wait for the bus."

My fellow bus-stop mothers and I share the same tolerance level for energetic chit-chat that revolves around the slaughter of rodents in the wild.  And by 'wild,' I mean a barely-manicured patchy lawn.


The bus rumbled down our street, collected the kids, and rumbled back up again. We mothers said our goodbyes to each other, and off we went to our homes and jobs.  I took a minute to call my husband to let him know he had some crime scene clean-up duties that night. I know, I know, I AM EVERY WOMAN and all that jazz. But, I've recently become very comfortable with the idea that while I CAN do everything, it is not REQUIRED that I do everything.  Besides, he and I have an agreement that outside chores default to him, and inside chores default to me. On the surface, it seems like I get stuck with more work.  But I don't think that I will be called upon to rake up animal carcass. Well, not unless my children turn on each other.

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