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I have a soft spot for raccoons.

Those bandit-mask eyes, little black nose and ringtail are endearing to me.

I must have a karmic connection with raccoons, because we frequently pass through each other’s lives.

I see them in our green space, out and about in town, and we’ve even had them visit our house.

I usually come away from a raccoon encounter having learned a neon-light lesson.

This week I was driving on a busy street, thinking about the appointment I was nearly late for. I was only half tuned in to the business of driving. I saw the red smear on the asphalt, and my stomach did a little flip flop. A few feet away lay a dead raccoon. My eyes welled with tears and I felt an overwhelming sadness.

But I kept driving. There was nothing else I could do.

This wasn’t my first experience with raccoons falling victim to traffic. Some years back I was driving on this same street and saw a pair of young raccoons, both lying dead in the middle of the road.

I had the same immediate reaction: tears and sadness and a feeling that someone had just punched me in the stomach.

Raccoons are sometimes associated with cunning behavior. They can be ferocious fighters, and are extremely smart. They’ve adapted pretty well to urban life, busy streets and distracted drivers notwithstanding.

Some cultures attribute certain shamanic characteristics to the raccoon as a totem animal: curiosity, adaptability, manual dexterity, cunning and resourcefulness.

For me, the message may be simpler.

I’ve been tired this week and feeling overwhelmed with a long to-do list. I think seeing that raccoon in the road was a reminder to me.

Slow down and tune in to my surroundings and especially, to myself.

 

Do you have an animal that keeps showing up in your life? Do you believe that animals are sent to us as teachers?

I finally had to yield to the urgings of “her diva-ship” and give her a day to offer her thoughts to the world.

We’re calling her weekly posts potcasting because sitting in a pot on the patio is one of Mija’s favorite summer activities.

Besides, she loves all things technological and is a regular little propellerhead.

Well maybe not so much.

But we both got a chuckle about the play on words.

Mija will be potcasting about how humans can squeeze every possible bit of enjoyment out of life, from her perspective of watching us for her entire life of 15 cat years. She’s a keen observer of people and knows quite a lot.

Just ask her!

For her first message she wants you to pay particular attention to her lovely sign, “Peace Now.” It’s the work of northern Colorado artist Lisa Hoffman, in case you want to get one for your own patio, and be reminded to slow down and find some peace in yourself.

This morning I was working at the computer in my home office. I was concentrating as I clacked away at the keys. I was on a roll. At least I thought so.

Then I heard a rising crescendo of meowing coming from the doorway. Mija stared at me and meowed until I pushed away from the desk, walked  to her and picked her up.

Meowing stopped.

Purring started.

Mija’s takeaway message for you:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you have to sit at that awful machine and not pay attention to your animals and/or family, at least schedule frequent breaks.

Preferably with a cat. A dog will do in a pinch. A baby works if you have no animal options.

It would be a shame to let summer pass you by, just because you thought you had to get something done.

Stop and sniff the catnip baby.

Until next Wednesday….

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