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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why Possum Tracks?

Why Possum Tracks? Well, this is a funny little beast, one of Nature’s abandoned experiments in creature creation. It just appeals to me, perhaps just because I’m nearsighted, a bit untidy, and enjoy rummaging for inspiration and creative sustenance in the small, messy details of life.

A possum leaves odd tracks, especially in snow, because his/her tail drags along behind. Like a Charlie Chaplin bum, a possum’s ungraceful and lumpy, scuffling along like a bundle of untidy, smelly rags. They can hiss and show you rows of teeth (50 in all) if you surprise them, and they can play dead and sincerely hope not to be eaten, but that’s about it in the defensive arena. In fact, they are mostly on the run, hoping to bluff you—or the dog—away, so they can scuttle off to safety.

Cheerfully omnivorous, they chow down on anything, even more so than Fido, who is notoriously unfussy about what he eats. They like insects, but Possums also enjoy fruit—who doesn’t--and will gravitate to apple, persimmon or paw-paw windfalls with delight. They have one particular claim to fame. As the only American marsupial, a family line which still has some survivors in isolated Australia, they are unique.