The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, March 25, 2013

Possum: 1, Beagle: 0 -- OR -- Mighty Hunter, Barking Beagle

Friday evening, at around 9:30 PM, our beagle Daisy was out in the back yard. She started to bark. Anyone owning a beagle knows this is no surprise. A beagle will use any excuse for a good bark. But this barking kept on and increased in intensity. So, out I went to see what was the cause of the commotion. I found our mighty hunter (roughly 10 years old) standing over something, tail erect, ears up, barking wildly. When I got closer, I discovered the something was an animal. The animal was an opossum. The opossum was rolled over on its belly, jaws hanging open, and apparently dead. It looked to be nearly Daisy's size. I quickly herded the dog inside (not easy to do when your beagle's hunting blood is up). Inside I checked her over thoroughly for bites and was relieved to find none. I went back to the show I'd been watching with my wife, reported what had happened, and we decided to go out after the show and see what we might have to do in the bagging and disposing of corpses department.

Gathering a large black trash bag ... a body bag to be we half believed, out we went, intending to view the crime scene first and then head for the shed and the flat blade shovel with which to transfer the corpse to the body bag. When we got there, there was no crime scene. There was no corpse. That opossum had played 'possum to a tea. He/she really knew how to carry off the role. Part of my mind had noted, I reflected, that there were neither blood nor guts on the critter ... but I thought of snapped necks instead as that is the dog's favored method of dispatch for opponents. Part of me had been completely duped.

Posting this among my Facebook friends, one had an interesting tale to tell of another opossum. He'd found one outside his home, dead as a doornail. He had a picture taken of him holding the dead critter up by the tail. He was going to wait until the next morning for burial services. When that morning came, the dead opossum had resurrected and gone. Again, kudos to the opossum world for getting the role down so well.

The lesson of all this is simple. Head knowledge only goes so far. Until you know something emotionally, experientially, it just isn't the same thing ... and harder to accept when stumbled upon when out checking on your barking beagle. And that's the barking beagle truth.

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