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November 18th 2010    Tim Candler

    In a little over a month is Winter Solstice.  Off and on since the middle of June, I have wondered how to celebrate the end of 2010, should I be fortunate enough to last that long.  There has been much flipping around and sometimes I reckon I have an answer.  

    Last night the Artist had an opportunity to indulge her passion for chasing Possums with a mop, and I thought the problem of Winter Solstice 2010 finally solved. These are not play dead Possums.  They do not lie down, open their mouths and appear diseased when challenged.  Rather they become irritated in the extreme, like little grumpy old grannies.  But to my eye they are too large to be considered little.   

    I think it likely they are more aware of us than we are of them, so being chased with a mop probably outrages more than it frightens them.   The chasing itself  I prefer to watch from a distance, and in darkness it was hardly a spectator sport.  But the Artist, aware of her audience, was good enough to screech occasionally so that I might locate her progress round and round the Vegetable Garden and in amongst the Laurels. . 

       Possums are remarkably speedy creatures, and local possums being as cantankerous as they are seem easily able to both outrun and outwit us.  And here I use the word 'us' loosely because in the interest of honesty I am actually too nervous of Possums to chase them with mops, even though it looks and sounds like great fun.

     Then on further reflection, chasing Possums might not be the way to celebrate Winter Solstice.  Because even though at 6:38 pm, at the Midwinter moment here in Kentucky, it will certainly be dark enough for possums to wander, they are notoriously unreliable.  And the celebration of Winter Solstice is a celebration of reliability and trust in reliable things.

   Tempting to try develop a routine in the Possum community by laying down treats.  They like apples and oranges.   And I could use a really long handled broom to chase the littlest Possum, though probably he will chase me.

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