Ach die Liebe! Racoon!

I was looking at a horsechestnut tree on Cambridge St. – those things rule, with their leaves over a foot wide, and their cloudy bunches of dangling peppermint flowers.

My companion saw this racoon! It was much higher up at first, but my camera did not have the willpower to capture it so backlit.

He was scratching at bark with his clever hand. Wikipedia claims they’re named from the Algonquian word aroughcoune, “he who scratches with his hands”. OED shows that early whities in America didn’t have much consensus on what to call the thing. Capt. Smith, possibly taught the name by no less an authority than Pocahontas, has Rahaugcums, and then, four pages later, Raugroughcums. Other early writers have arocoune, Arathkone, Aroughcun. It is of course not surprising that we ended up with the version without an “a” at the front.

Here he is very cleverly descending from the tree into a hedge – he’s dangling headfirst and you can see that his tail is kind of motheaten and wimpy. Some other guy on the sidewalk thought it was using the tail to climb – I smiled politely but I don’t think that’s what was going on.

He then proceeded to calmly walk up a sidewalk, onto someone’s porch, over their railing and out of sight. Since they’re nocturnal, we thought he might be messed up in the head somehow, hydrophoby or whatever. But now I’m wondering if he might have had a den which got rained in? For the rain it be raining all the time lately.

7 Responses to “Ach die Liebe! Racoon!”

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