It was on the ground by the entrance to the bridge as we rounded the bend at seven a.m. Eating bird seed placed by walkers, a huge raccoon darted behind the bridge and peered out between the rails.
“Finally, a raccoon,” I said to my husband as I turned on the camera to take a photo.
We have lived on Prince Edward Island for ten years and had yet to see one. We’d heard about their antics but they hadn’t shown up in our neighbourhood to this point. Nor had we seen them on any of our excursions. Having come from Newfoundland which doesn’t have raccoons, the furry critters were a curiosity to my husband and I and we wanted to see one.
As we approached, the raccoon disappeared beneath the bridge. We paused to look over the stream from the centre of the bridge and the animal appeared again, climbing the railing to the top of the bridge to eat the birdseed left by walkers for the regulars.
My husband and I watched for the longest time. It was the huge raccoon, with the distinctive eye mask and striped tale we had only ever seen in photos. It watched us but didn’t mind our presence and kept eating.
Several times other walkers approached and it disappeared behind the bridge again, only to appear as the walker proceeded past. We alerted anyone who happened by about the masked visitor. Many reported no interest in the raccoon because of negative encounters at home where bird feeders are raided and must be taken in each night. They complained about the mess the creatures make. We decided the best place for raccoons was along the boardwalk not in our neighbourhood.
People can have such varied perceptions of the same thing which is certainly the case for many things in the world today. It is important to listen to each other and keep an open mind. Who knows, we may learn to appreciate the other’s viewpoint and expand our world view. The least we can do is treat each other with respect.
Meanwhile, maybe we can view that raccoon with the wonder of two seniors seeing one for the first time.