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Distress Cries from the Hollow Oak!

by | Nov 10, 2014

Ahhh…how nice to be home after some extended time away. There was lots to do in the yard—firewood to stack, weeds to clear away, and lots of November beauties to savor.

I loved the turkey tail fungus that had popped into color after a rain.


I loved the fresh yellow faces of green-headed coneflowers. The goldfinches had mobbed the ten-foot tall summer stalks until they were empty of the seed the birds adore.


And then the gorgeous purple of the saffron crocus making its way through the tangle of periwinkle leaves.


But the beauties weren’t just in the vegetation. This showy turtle surprised Robby as he added stalks to the brush pile.


And then we heard it—the biggest surprise of all! From the tallest oak in our front yard—the one with the well-worn hole midway up the trunk– came cries of distress, a panicked high-pitched chattering. A tiny raccoon, just the size our grandsons loved to cuddle as stuffed animals, scampered all around the big tree, crying for all it was worth. There was no time to get a camera with a zoom. My iPhone did its best as we watched in amazement.


It sat in the arms of the large branch in the highest fork of the tree and looked down at us as if to say, “Can’t you help?”


It came around to the front of the tree and begged some more.


It looked from left to right. Still no sign of Mama Raccoon, who we were pretty sure was curled up for a long day’s sleep in the hole farther up the tree, after a night of hunting to feed her children.


Suddenly the baby started up the right side of the tree trunk as if getting its bearings.


That was when a face popped up out of the hole in the tree, its black mask matching the little ones, its eyes watchful and concerned. The baby happily scrambled on up, back legs trembling with the effort.

Then,” Welcome home, small adventurer!”


Miracles in the garden, indeed, they are new every morning.




Susan Yoder Ackerman is a writer and gardener in Newport News, Virginia. Both her writing and her gardening are enhanced by tending a century-old family farmhouse and eight grandchildren that come and go. You can email Susan at [email protected].



Monday, November 10th, 2014 -Miracles in the Garden with Susan Yoder Ackerman Comments Off