Over the years, I’ve had many animal neighbors in the backyard, including a number of groundhogs. One of my favorites was a groundhog named Son of Spinach (at least, that was his name to me). Sadly, he died a few years ago. He was quite a character.
He didn’t show up every day, but he had a den nearby, so from time to time, he would show up in the backyard. And to say something both true and alliterative, Son of Spinach was so overly skittish. At the smallest noise, he would run away to hide, sometimes under the deck. This quality felt like an endearing, funny, sad combo.
Occasionally in the mornings, Son of Spinach would feast on the backyard grass quite out-in-the-open. And if I made the slightest sound, like unlocking the screen door, he ran for cover under the deck. I found myself wondering, how long will he stay down there? How much recoup time is necessary for the popping sound of a lock? How long will it be before he feels safe again?
Then, sometimes, I’d think of us – that is, we humans. We hide and recoup too. Sometimes, we need alone time or sustained opportunities for self and community care.
But other times, we just doubt ourselves.
When it comes to the second, I hope we know there’s a whole out-in-the-open living opportunity for us.