Friday, June 22, 2018

Raccoons, forgive me this is long.

We have had armadillos digging in our gardens. While digging for grubs and worms, they uproot tiny plants and make a general cratered mess of things. So I'd set a trap. They do not respond to bait. So what you have to do is set up an obstacle course, gathering them in and directing them into the live trap. If you are lucky enough to get one to stumble in during the dark of night, you've got him trapped for relocation elsewhere in the morning.

Yesterday morning I stepped out the door to be met by two raccoons staring at me. As they're creatures of the night, to see them at my door in the morning was a big surprise. I soon discovered why they were hanging out and waiting for me to arrive. There were two more raccoons in the trap I had set for armadillos. I put on a pair of gloves and carried the trap away from the house before I opened the door and watched them launch into the woods.

The simple lesson is that even animals care for each other, and will linger in danger to watch over family and friends.

Yesterday Melania Trump visited the border to check on children held in separation from their families. She wore a windbreaker that had a written statement on the back. It said, "I really don't care, do U?" We were told by the administration to ignore the message,  and were told that it meant nothing. But she was traveling to visit children who had been taken from parents and held in detention, amidst an international furor against Trump administration policy and for whom the whole world was expressing deep concern. Let's give Melania the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she was only making a fashion statement. “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message,” said FLOTUS’ publicist.

But the statement could be informative. There is a difference between some of us and those behind Trump administration policies. We do care. Just like a family of raccoons, we care for each other, and look out for the interests of each other. Some of us are able to extend our caring beyond family and community and find kinship with and concern for others of the human race. Others may not be equipped to do so.

As I explained to one reader, I am the son of a Kindergarten teacher who saw education as a means of liberation for all persons. Kindergarten teachers were not trained to discriminate, but to love and to embrace. I am also the son of a WWII veteran who took part in the liberation of Nordhausen, a German concentration camp in which unimaginable horrors were inflicted upon those some had chosen to view as being less than human. My father had become a witness of atrocity. Forgive me if I take some of this very seriously.

Aside from my parents, my hands have been instructive. As another friend pointed out, "his savior" was a carpenter and the son of one. We learn things from working with wood. Despite our best  intentions and the extreme focus of our attentions, we woodworkers make mistakes and must learn to practice forgiveness for ourselves and for others. Through craftsmanship we learn about and explore our own humanity. We strive to be better at what we do, and to offer service. In this we learn principles and practices common to all religions and to most of mankind. We strive to make the world a better place. But as my father learned in WWII, forgiveness alone, brings no justice in the face of horrors that require extreme human efforts to stop.

Incidentally, this is not the first time I've caught the wrong animals in my live trap. One morning I walked out the back door and found a rabbit sitting still and looking directly at me. It hopped a few steps and turned to look back. I followed and found another rabbit in the trap. The first bunny was leading me to its mate so that I could let it go, which I did.

This morning in my study of Norwegian on Duolingo, the following phrase came up: "kan dyr begĂ„ forbrytelser?"  Can animals commit crimes?  We know that human beings can, and that we witness serious crimes in seeing children taken from their mothers and being warehoused in camps.

Some folks think that human beings are the only ones who think and care deeply about each other. They then categorize some persons as being of lesser value or lesser humanity than others. But let me  assure you:  the care of young mothers and fathers on the border for their children is no less than our own... In response to Melania's message (whether she intended it or not) I note, "I really do care, and it's human to do so."

I continue to prepare for my classes coming up this next week. The photo shows some boxes we can make.

Make, fix, and create.

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