Saturday, April 10, 2010

Night Callers (or, Leo and the Night Visitor (with apologies to Amahl and Menotti))

Last night just as I was thinking of heading for bed, a strange sound penetrated the noise of tv, gentle rain and dripping eaves and whatever extra audio was going on in my head. Listening more closely, didn't sound like a leak in roof or plumbing, and had a bit too much volume to it to be one of the mice that frequent the basement willy-nilly between trappings. Fervently hoping it wasn't a rat or a squirrel (one occupant of each variety over the years (that I knew of!)) I headed for the basement to see what I could hear (answering a Call of Nature, so to speak). Passing the front door, I heard the noise again and it seemed to be coming from outside. Porch light on-- Ah yes, nature calling indeed: a porcupine was on the front step (more of a porchupine, I suppose...), apparently-presumably looking for a place to stash some extra quills for later use and very intrigued with the possibilities of the screen door (and why not-- at one quill per hole that would hold quite an armoury of spares). It was unfazed and even unphased by the porch light coming on, and equally unimpressed by me rapping on the door. Fetched the camera and dazzled it with the flash a few times (useless results photographically, I got better pics without the flash) with little effect on the animal, except that he decided to investigate the other side of the screendoor (it was roped open, with about a 15" space between it and the wall of the adjoining "wing"). So I went out onto the porch and asked it to wander off, which eventually it did. Slow, stately, and unimpressed. Mind you, the whole time I was out there it was gnashing it's teeth at me; nothing vocal, just a continuous clicking of teeth at a couple of clicks per second; I suppose it could have been clicking quills, but it sounded more solid and regular to me. And refusing to tell me just what was so fascinating about that screen door!

The photos are not great, the light was rather dim, but here it is first investigating the screen and then taking it's stately departure. Viewers are asked to ignore the banana skins up against the house (yes, those distracting yellow shapes), just as the porcupine did.

Not exactly the stuff of grand opera, but yet passable Friday night excitement out here in the sticks of NS...

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