The story behind the photo....
One of my vices, in addition to storytelling, is scrapbooking, as in "fancy photo albums with extraneous decorations added to the page for artistic effect and a guaranteed drain on one's recreational spending." Scrapbooking is actually a rather nice foil for a storyteller, especially in its modern incarnation, as the umpteen magazines and websites devoted to the hobby exhort us to "tell the story behind the photo." As a storyteller, I'm more than happy to oblige.
I was driving home from work yesterday. I usually take a county road that parallels the interstate running at the south edge of my town. For the past few weeks, this county road has been undergoing "improvements," a term with which I beg to differ. My reasoning will become obvious shortly...allow me to set the stage for my story!
As I drove along, I noticed in the ditch two very young raccoons rummaging about in the rocks and weeds. It just so happened I had my heavy duty camera set-up along, having been on a field trip with 1st graders out in "nature" for the afternoon. There are always great photo ops on those field trips, as some of them encounter bugs, tree frogs and shelf mushrooms for the first time in their short lives. I tried to pull off the road so I could take advantage of my good fortune.
Couldn't do it. The so-called "improvement" had made a shoulder almost non-existent. I drove on ahead, turned in a parking lot, and headed back. The coons were still there, but I couldn't pull off on that side, either. There really aren't many places to pull off on this road. It's mainly rural. Aha! Rural! That means I can pull into the parking lot of the John Deere dealership about a half mile down the road, park and walk back!
That's just what I did, walking along the road with no real shoulder, still undergoing "improvements," late in the afternoon. Lugging a camera with a 4.5 pound lens attached to it.
My mind wandered to days past when I regularly ran this circuit as part of my 5 mile runs. Back in the day, I could run this stretch and see hardly a car. Not so today. I was afraid by the time I reached the ditch where the raccoons were foraging, they'd have moved back into the scrubby pine stand along the rocky outcrop.
The stars were with me. They were still there, and largely unconcerned with my presence. I kept looking up for a Mama Raccoon, but didn't see her. I was entertained for about a half hour, watching the clumsy little critters rummage about. I kept waiting for them to come into clear view, but about the time they were there, another construction truck would roll by, sending them scampering into the brush.
I'm sure I entertained more than a few passersby, sitting down there in the hot ditch. I'm too old to care if I did. I enjoyed my close encounter with nature's bandits, and was able to capture about a dozen nice photos, including this one of the two, all tuckered out from their adventure, curling up for a late afternoon siesta. After walking the hot dusty road back to my car, I was ready to curl up for my own siesta as well.
And that's the story behind this photo. At least, that's how I tell it to you!