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The Opossum

June 22, 2011

This is another Frank Jacobs animal poem that amuses me.
The Opossum
The possum’s found
Above the ground
In forest, wood and dale;
A branch or limb
Is home to him,
And thereby hangs a tail.

We have a possum population in the woods in back of our house; I love seeing their scary white grins out there at dusk.  Possums really have a lot of teeth, don’t they?

We spent the evening of the longest day of the year driving an hour to the nearest big city to see the extended version of The Two Towers at a movie theater. It was totally worth it, especially as the weather continues to be vastly disappointing to would-be swimmers and the regularly scheduled thunderstorm was just sweeping in around the time we went into the theater.

Do you have summer solstice rituals?  Mine tend to be interchangeable with fourth of July rituals, consisting of a picnic followed by fireflies and sparklers. It’s the start of firefly season, here, and we’ll have even more of them over the next few weeks.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 7:31 pm

    We trapped a possum (the first of several) and I went out to admire our catch. First he (she) played dead (or played possum, I guess) but when my dog approached the trap, it came to life and HISSED at us. Scary teeth! I hope it’s found a happy new life down on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

    • June 23, 2011 8:26 am

      It’s very satisfying to hear that possums really do play possum. And they hiss when confronted with dogs…that’s not something I was ever going to find out on my own!

  2. freshhell permalink
    June 22, 2011 7:36 pm

    I hate, hate, hate possums. I think they’re nasty and mean and ugly. No redeeming qualities that I’ve ever discovered. They bother the cats and eat their food.

    I don’t have any summer rituals per se. I just bask in the glory of summer and tend the garden. I suppose the garden is a ritual. Weeding and pruning and picking, etc.

    • June 23, 2011 8:29 am

      The garden is definitely a ritual.
      We had a baby possum that had been abandoned at the animal shelter I worked at when I was a teenager, and it was mighty cute, even with the full set of impressive-looking teeth. They’re intelligent little creatures, much like raccoons, I guess, which is why they’re such a nuisance.

  3. June 22, 2011 7:41 pm

    Possums have SO many teeth. When Daddy trapped his possum, I went round to look at it, and at first I was all, Oh, poor possum, poor adorable little thing!, but then it looked at me and bared its scary, scary teeth, and I lost all pity for it. Screw you, scary possum!

    • June 23, 2011 8:30 am

      ah, but you’ve never seen a baby one grin at you with all those teeth.

  4. June 22, 2011 8:06 pm

    I hate the opossums. They are mean and look too much like giant rats for my taste. Creepy.

    • June 23, 2011 8:31 am

      They certainly can be mean. The tail always looks much more comical to me than a rat’s tail does, though.

  5. June 22, 2011 9:37 pm

    I just went walking and saw a nutria hanging amidst some ducks near a creek. I thought they were more nocturnal as the sun was still shining bright at 7 pm. Apparently they are giant rodents originally from South America.

    • June 23, 2011 8:33 am

      Nutria in Texas? I’ve read about them in Louisiana, but are they spreading?

      • June 23, 2011 9:03 am

        Haha, my daughter in Connecticut described nutria to her law school buddies (she explained that they looked a lot like the Rodents of Unusual Size from the Princess Bride) and they didn’t believe her. They thought she made them up.

    • June 23, 2011 11:51 am

      I read on Wikipedia that nutrias can be found a lot of places now and are as far north as Maryland. If they get too far north their tails freeze and fall off and they die.

      • June 23, 2011 2:09 pm

        Their tails would definitely freeze and fall off in central Ohio.

  6. PAJ permalink
    June 23, 2011 8:46 am

    My dad (or Daddy, as we say down South) always thought one should have fresh corn by the Fourth of July. He was quite the gardener and was almost always able to make this happen. We also had a homemade ice cream ritual that sprang from Daddy’s childhood in southern Mississippi, when they got ice once a year–for July 4 and ice cream making. He always insisted on fireworks, too. Now I live in Jersey, where fireworks are banned, the corn is only shoulder-high in the fields with no tassles (much less ripe ears), and ice cream (or frozen custard) stands are on every corner. It’s enough to make one want to spend the holiday in Canada.

    • June 23, 2011 9:08 am

      “Oh, Canada, we stand on cars and freeze…” Let’s do it. And let’s make sure there’s some eating of ice cream involved!

  7. June 23, 2011 12:06 pm

    Possums, squirrels–ditch them all I say!

    • June 23, 2011 1:50 pm

      the cats agree with you. They even chatter their teeth at the full-grown deer.

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