Monday, March 26, 2012


A friend tells me there are otters in our urban park, our sanctuary a mere stone's throw from where sirens blare and gangs go about their dirty business. The otters emerge long after sundown, or so I hear, swirling their sleek furred selves in the velvet of 2am. I must trust in this, as I've not even once seen evidence that they exist. Trust — and marvel at the simple and complicated fact that they live so close to so much that is deadly.

There's a woman who shops in the same local co-op as I do, and she once discovered a body in the park. It was a suicide, by gun, of a friend and neighbor just three houses from me. The woman who happened upon the body desired anonymity, but word gets out, and whenever I see her, usually in the produce department, surmising something as common as an onion, all I can see is my friend with half her face blown off. I've been tempted to scream, beside the celery.

As The Tearful Dishwasher says, "how do we reconcile the beauty with the horror?"

I am drawn time and again to these mythical otters, as well as to rumors of a heron rookery down past the dead-end of my street, perched in maples or alders above a ravine -- the same ravine where on a sunny Sunday afternoon twenty years ago a SWAT team apprehended a shooting suspect.

And yet we can't stop believing in the goodness of the universe, in possibilities, in hope.

Can't stop believing that sometime soon, in the wee hours, I'll stumble upon a raft of otters, and their nocturnal splashing in the tranquil pool of the lake will cancel out the lone siren half a mile away, the ambulance with its terrible and fragile cargo.


  1. I can't imagine finding a body. How tragic and traumatic. I hope she and your friend have found peace.

  2. I did once find a body, but we knew, somehow, that she would be there. My aunt committed suicide, and as I was the smallest at the time, it was for me to break into her house to find her and open the door. I was about 14 at the time, and I don't think it affected me in any way.

    Herons must be one of my favourite birds. And did you know that an otter's dropping is called a 'Spraint'? You may not believe it, but knowing that once gave me huge kudos (it would take too long to explain).

  3. Among the words that stay with me from years of 12-step meetings, "Don't leave before the miracle" may be the most insistent. Life is such a checkerboard, as you've conveyed so well here, among the vegetables, in the urban park, in the trees and the middle of the night. xo

  4. Like this very much. "And yet we can't stop believing in the goodness the universe, in possibilities, in hope." Very nice indeed.

  5. The world and we will be so much less if there are not otters.

    Love, C.

  6. Cro, that's quite a story! Glad to hear you made it out without trauma. Yikes.

  7. Marilynn -- "Don't leave before the miracle" -- wise words, and so very fitting at this particular moment.

    You seem to know intuitively, what to say and when to say it.

    I thank you for this.


  8. Foxessa: yes, and yes again.


  9. Michelle -- I 'm glad you stopped by and took the time to comment. Please come again.