By all of nature’s laws, the stumpy hollow-trunked tree in my neighbor’s backyard should have fallen years ago. Still, foliage sprouts annually, and would look like the hairdo of boxing promoter Don King had our considerate neighbors not trimmed it to preserve our view.
A variety of birds often rest in that tree, while lizards scamper up the gnarly willow trunk in search of insects.
Last week, for the first time in the 45 years we’ve looked out at the curly willow, a raccoon gazed back from its dark and confined security.
We soon learned why the raccoon was so territorial: that hollow willow had become a garden maternity ward for her five offspring.
Mother raccoon stayed for several days, then abruptly left with her brood without paying rent. However, my neighbor discovered one abandoned, still-blind kit, weakly whining. Said neighbor carefully scooped the baby out of the tree and rushed it to the rescue center in Huntington Beach.
The raccoons may be cute, but we’ll reevaluate just how cute they are when the family eventually returns to dig up our lawns in search of scrumptious grubs.