Very early this morning, my two young sons and I saw six (!) large raccoons in our yard. Our house abuts a greenbelt. We live less than a mile from the ocean; thus, the area is densely populated, but there is some open space, un-terraced hillsides, etc. There is our greenbelt, and racoons would be able to forage water here, which they like and need. It’s just remarkable that, if they do live here, we’ve never seen these animals before. I called my sons to the patio window; we watched as the racoons gathered by the tall Black Pine acoss the way, conferred briefly, and then hustled in single file across the vast green of the lawn. Spellbound, my sons are young enough to appreciate the racoons in themselves, they haven’t yet lost their inherent fascination with, and love for, animals in their own right.
I read recently that up until age six, 80% of the dreams of children concern in some way animals. After age six these dreams decrease rapidly in frequency. I now dream of animals rarely, and when I do, they often assume a totemic cast, signifying, it seems, some area of experience now denied me.