|Tonight we sat in our small, cut-out of the ghetto backyard wonderland. As I eased back into my discount easy-plastic-chair I noticed a movement from the trees. It was in the corner pine tree actually -the sad little tree that had been overcome with thick layers of English Ivy when we first moved into the house. The branches still lingering towards the mid-to-top of the tree have always looked a bit too weak to support any real tree crawling wild life.
I walked towards it – curious. The first thing I saw was the limb-like thin tail that cupped the aging pine below it. Then -so slowly- a somewhat shaggy body appeared from the branches above. A very scruffy creature moved into the glow of the tiki-torches and stared us down. This was a possum and he was very much: I am the marsupial of this American landscape bitches! (I have to wonder why all of our local wild life are so taken with calling us bitches. It simply must be the neighborhood.)
I respected his quiet battle cry right from the beginning. I watched, nearly mesmerized by how well he used his tail to move down the small tree next to the antique evergreen. He was mostly white with large patches of gray/yellow moving through his fur. He gave us a direct stare and said -with this silent conversation- “why yes, I’m an ugly, scavenger sort to your untrained eyes, but I am a KING in my world.”
What came after was the most unexpected. Our solar lights all found a unison direction and magically floated towards the back of the yard. They came upon a small clearing atop a hill of hay that had been left over from earlier landscaping. He brought his garden mike to his mouth and pointed to his backup-domestic-wildlife band and sound blew up and surrounded the backyard. It sounded something like this:
“White man came across the sea
“He killed our tribes, he killed our creed
“We fought him hard, we fought him well
“But many came, too much for Cree
“Riding through dust clouds and barren wastes
“Chasing the redskins back to their holes
“Murder for freedom the stab in the back
“Run to the hills – run for your lives
The concert went on nearly all night and a lighter was lit and waved more than once during that time. As the threat of dawn was approaching Sean finally gave one last point to his backyard audience and cried “I have been Sean the Garden Avenger Possum! It’s now time to raid your garbage cans and eat that cat food you put out for that local stray! Thank you GOODNIGHT!!” and he slammed his microphone down and was off.
The mate and I applauded with great enthusiasm and I even ran over and tried to get him to sign my tee shirt but a skunk bouncer kept me away by aiming his tail at me and pretending it was a gun of sorts. I’m currently contemplating asking Frederick if he might be interested in opening for the marsupial.
*Quoted lyrics are Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden w/Possum adlibs