As usual I woke up yesterday early and was out walking my “lake” just a bit before seven a.m. Breathing in the air that was determined to be hot later on that day, I made my way round. Noticed the sunlight glinting through the pines, the houses up on the hilltop, the tiny house like structure out front of the gargantuan domicile with two holes for windows. A playhouse? Duck hunting hut? Pool house? I made my way round to the bridge and peered over to see if I could spot any red-eared sliders. Sometimes the water close to the dam looks murky, as if something has been spilled in it. It is a reclaimed water reservoir, and there are those hoses and odd bobbing spherical buoys that float in it, perhaps leaking chemicals to “clean” the liquid grunge. At the east end of the bridge I could see one turtle floating in that murk. I wonder how it must affect his shell when at other times the water seems to be translucent and clear. How the family of house pets got into the drinking water is unclear, though guessable.
Today I do not see any deer or foxes lurking on the other side of the chain linked barb-wired fence. Yes, in L.A. this is what accounts for nature. Sometimes it comes in more natural forms that this. But for convenience of proximity and a good distance walk, this will do these days. The birds are mostly muddy earth tones, the color of dry shrubbery. Occasionally one bird, a finch perhaps, has a reddish head.
I make it to the point where I can see the red umbrellas from the house across an inlet, and know the end of the lake portion of my hike is not far in my future. I must still then walk just shy of a mile back to my car on the dirt path that lifts me up off of the road as travelers rush on by, either to view the Hollywood sign or make their way to jobs on this Monday morning; the benefit of being a school teacher in the summer, although I rush about a plenty it seems.
Almost to my car, I see the weird greenish hue of the rainbow shaped pipe in the distance and know I feel relieved I am almost done, and feel the shpilkas as I get closer to getting ready to go tutor and rush about my busy day. A British gent is suddenly standing in the road, distraught because a half alive young skunk is laying down in the middle of the street. Its front paws and face are operative, it seems as if its back legs are paralyzed; a cute critter, though scary in its production capabilities. “What do we do?” the middle-aged man urges to me. I claim we should get a long stick and see if we can’t coax it to the dirt path, out of multi-ton vehicles treads.
I get a stick and carefully approach Skunk. It seems she can work her back legs for short moments at a time. She seems to be out of stink, though shows me her derriere from time to time. I am able to pet it softly with a stick, trying to show it I mean it no harm. I propose to get to my car and get a blanket to wrap it in so we can hoist it to the dirt path.
Off I go, U-turn back around as close to the curb as possible. Meanwhile British gent built a fort of sorts of pinecones and branches to help ward off oncoming traffic from squashing our stinky helpless friend. I approach Skunk with much caution, blanket out in front of me. She does rise to her paws, but ambles in the wrong direction. Like a matador I herd her with as much trepidation as I can muster while trying to help the guileless animal to safety. At last her hind legs give out and she collapses near the curb we were aiming for. I gently lower the blanket down around her hindquarters and near her head. In one thoughtless scoop I cup her sides and softly throw her up to the dirt, where upon she turns around to face us and collapses onto her paws in a prone position.
Happy I didn’t have to call my tutoring center and explain how I was mauled by a wild-skunk or worse, I feel good she won’t be road kill. Coyote food perhaps, but we did out best. I am not sure what animal control would or wouldn’t do for the creature; most likely euthanize it I imagine.
I snapped her little picture and posted the brief account via caption to my facebook page. A middle-aged cousin asked if I took it to the vet. I am not sure my heroic foolery includes taking a stinky wild animal in my car and paying hundreds of dollars to cure what ails it, but I did my best. Let scared but well meaning British gent do the rest. Into my car I leapt to tutor young minds, get finger printed one more time for my new post, and retake that written drivers test I was unprepared for the first time; highlight and cut an actors hair in the salon… the days chores were endless, but none as unexpected as my mornings adventure with Skunk.