There’s something moaning in the backyard

I open the windows to let the breeze in when I hear an unusual animal sound. Mind you, I don’t live in the country where who knows what is roaming around, but there are cats, possums, skunks and groundhogs, and I am do not have intimate knowledge of their sounds. The vocalization is deeper than a wounded cat and guttural. I get a flashlight, which from the second floor, I imagine will illuminate zilch, but it shines like a circus spotlight—so bright that I think my neighbor might call the police—and lands on a skunk.

“Am I interrupting something?” I yell to the furry black and white splotch among the greenery.

I picture skunk sex (interesting) or a litter of newborns, and scan the area for wolverines, just in case. I look to my neighbor’s window and see her cat perched there, also intrigued, and we have ourselves a moment there, the cat and I, wondering what is going on in the yard. A little research turns up the fact that this is simply the sound that a skunk makes. If you’re curious, you can listen here. I try to communicate my findings to the cat in the window, but she loses interest and wanders away.

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