Inspiration

By Charles Towne                        

I have eaten some pretty nasty things in my life but never skunk.  To my way of thinking, a man would have to be pretty near starving to eat a skunk, and that’s putting it mildly.

We were camping way back on the state land northeast of Gladwin, Michigan.

Up off Lame Duck Road there is an old conservation dam in the middle of the state forest, and the area seems to be overrun with wildlife.

Deer are rampant, and you’ll even see an occasional black bear.  I’ve seen bob cat here and beaver as well as otter, and it is such a delight to lay in your sleeping bag on a moonlit night and have coyotes put you to sleep with their song.

It was late fall and the nights had turned frosty so the skeeters and no-see-ums were no problem. In other words, it was near onto perfect for just being, and enjoying life.

We let the fire die down, crawled into our sleeping bags, and the next thing we knew it was morning.

It was so peaceful in my sleeping bag and I was trying to see fit to crawl out and start a new day, when I heard something outside my tent.

There was a clunking sound, some scurrying around, and then a thud.  Suddenly one of the other campers must have climbed out of his tent to see what was making the strange sound because I heard him say, “Hey!  What is that!  OH NO! A SKUNK!” Chuck, there is a skunk out here!” Curious, I pulled on my pants and shoes and unzipped the door to my tent.   Sticking my head out I didn’t see anything, so I stepped outside.

“Where’s the skunk?”  I called.

“He was just outside my tent door a minute ago,” a camper called! “And I think there’s something wrong with him!”

Just then, something bumped against the back of my left foot.  I no longer needed to find the skunk – he had found me. And there certainly was something wrong with him. A tin can was stuck on his head.

Skunks are scavengers, and this little guy had been hunting for something to eat. Finding a bean can that some other campers had discarded in the woods, it had jammed its head into the can, trapping it.

Well, considering that it was an emergency situation, I handled it the the same way I handle most emergency situations – I gave it a lot of due deliberation and forethought by asking myself, “What is the skunk going to do when I remove the tin can and he sees me?” So, I reached down and grabbed that can, and lifted the can – with its accompanying skunk – off the ground.

The skunk was pushing at the can with its little front paws, and it was running in place with its hind feet, going nowhere fast.

Just then, Mr. Skunk’s head popped out of the can, and the skunk dropped to the ground.

When it hit the ground, Mr. Stinky squatted, and raised his banner of a tail threateningly. Imagining that I was about to be baptized, I froze, and made like a tree.

The skunk, detecting no movement on my part, looked around, and walked closer. Then it looked up into the tree’s face as if to say, “Boy, this is your lucky day, Bubba!”

Finally, without a backward glance, that black and white tail held proudly over his back, he ambled away.

And he didn’t even say thanks.

Sometimes it is good to remember the Father’s words, “Be still and know that I am God.” So I didn’t say anything as I thankfully watched his tail disappear into the woods.

An Outdoorsman’s Prayer

Dear lord, help me to remember that it is just in the skunk’s character to spray before thinking, and stink things up. When I am dealing with your children, sometimes it is good to remember that folks are sometimes like skunks: they can sometimes respond in ways that are not always pleasant. I want my life to be a sweet odor to you father. I don’t want to offend you or your children, so help me to be patient and think before I respond. I love you Father, and I know that you love me.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen

 


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Another great story…and even a happy ending! How much better can it get? That skunk has no idea that you saved his life, literally.
    Or, maybe he does and that’s why he spared yours from the whole stinking situation! I hope you thanked God for giving you a grateful skunk, who just wanted
    to go home. Isn’t it amazing how many times God spares us from things! I hope we remember to be thankful. May He bless you, Chuck! Thanks for another good one.

  2. Dear CSG, SKUNKS ARE CHARMING CREATURES UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN SKUNKED. Having been anointed by Mr. skunk sure can put finished to a person’s social life for awhile! The name for the city of Chicago is derived from the Ojibwa indian word, she-gawk, which means, skunk land. Mr. skunk’s latin name, Mephitis, means, a poisonous, noxious, or pestilential gas and well named he is! There are two skunks in Florida, the common striped skunk, and the smaller spotted junk are best avoided as they both can and will spray if threatened. If you are so inclined to get acquainted with Mr. stinky it is best to do so from a distance. They are catlike in their behavior except for one thing, being nocturnal they tend to keep one awake in their night time wandering. At one time skunks were quite common in central Florida but not so much any more, PROBABLY DUE TO RUNNING AFOUL OF CARS, DOGS, BIRDS OF PREY, AND Cats. Poor skunks! Bless you my friend, Chaz

  3. Hello Charles! What a beautiful story and even better the teaching you leave us. Thank you for reminding us that God in in charge at all time and that we should just stand still. God bless you.

    • Dear Magaly, so nice to get your note. Yes, it is definitely a good thing that Papa God has His hand on us. As I look back I can see the many times He has saved me from disaster. I pray that you are well. Bless you and yours, Charles

  4. What an awesome encounter. I love skunks….so interesting and unique. Interesting that the skunk paid you back for helping. I wonder if they have the capacity or just instinct to ponder these thoughts….hmmmmm. What do you think?

  5. Dear NH, there has been many times that I felt a special communication with nature. Let us be aware of all that is and ever will be, that nature will speak to us and we will respond in love. Thank you Papa God. Bless you and yours NH, Amen, Chaz

  6. Charlitosssss !!! Ha Ha Ha … What a funny and shocking story !!! But we need to find this ungrateful friend (a) PePe Le Pew !!! This Romantic Guy has to say Thanks !!!
    We make great things for nothing. GOD knows about that !!!
    An Huge Hugh to my Little Brother !!! !!!

  7. LEO DE LA ROSA CANO, I HAD NO IDEA THAT PEPE LE PEW WAS A POPULAR LOVER IN VENEZUELA! I AM GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT. BLESS YOU MY FRIEND, CHAZ

  8. When Betty and I as traveling in our Motorhome we liked to park at Jetty Park, which was South across the harbor from the Florida NASA Launch site. At night the small spotted skunks would come out of the rocky sides of Jetty Park and sometimes people that didn’t know any better would get too close and live to regret it! They are cute little buggers but just as fully equipped as the bigger skunks. (expect books soon)

  9. Don, the poor little guys have poor eyesight so if a person doesn’t move, makes like a tree, it is highly unlikely that Pepe Le Pew will anoint you. I have actually stood so still that skunks have tried to turn my feet over to see if there was anything edible hiding under it. I suppose the skunks thought my foot was a rock and maybe insects were hiding under it. How much fun can we have? Bless you pal, Chaz

  10. Skunks are something that I don’t miss here in Florida. Pennsylvania had a large population of the little stinkers and they were always willing to share their obnoxious fragrance when provoked – something my German Shepard learned the hard way. Sharyn fell in love with Boo – a lavender skunk at The CARE Foundation open house last September. Boo cuddled up to her and she sure enjoyed the attention as much as he did.

  11. Mikey old pal, old buddy, “Stinky” was a skunk of my acquaintance when I was a kid. He had been operated on so he wasn’t supposed to be able to live up to his name, but he could, and he ran afoul of my father one time which was a sad mistake. He didn’t give papa a full dose, just enough so you could smell daddy before you could see him. I don’t know what happened to Stinky but I have an idea that Daddy gave him a lethal dose of shotgun magic, poor Stinky. Wisdom is definitely the better part of valor, and I guess Stinky was not very wise. Bless you folks, Chaz

  12. As always, a great story and a great lesson! Sometimes the best course of action is to be still and do nothing, not always easy to do!
    Skunks in general have a bad rap but I think a lot of that was by folks who managed to tick off the critter somehow. Years ago for whatever reason, I ran across a pamphlet about the best way to clean, prepare,and cook roadkill! It covered, racoons, possums, any and every manner of critter you could dispatch with a Buick! There even was a section on skunk but as I recall it was not highly recommended! The secret was to locate and remove the scent gland without rupturing it. I mention this only in case you ever go to Michigan again!
    One last question, did Sam Campbell have a skunk friend, I can’t recall!

  13. Ahh yes Richard, ask and you shall receive! Sam had an especially lively relationship with this gaseous little woodland friend. Get the book, SWEET SUE’S ADVENTURES and SMILE as you watch sue and her little litter lovingly lead you on a laugh loaded journey of exploration. One thing we know is that skunks are really peaceful critters so as long as we watch from a distance we are safe. Skunk juice stinks like sin so it is best avoided. Bless you my friend, Chaz

  14. We have had a number of smelly encounters with the cute critters! Waking up in the middle of the night with the entire house bathed in skunk perfume was not soon forgotten! Took days to fade to a tolerable level! I have even heard that if you smell skunk nearby, it could be an owl, because they DO enjoy the flavor and don’t mind the smell! But, I will always treasure my memories of Petunia, our pet skunk from my childhood days…she was truly very sweet…God is so good to give us the blessing and wonders of Nature!!!

  15. Faithy, my mostest favorites dotter! Yes, petunia was a delight. I must say that some of the wildest critters we have known were of the people person kind. Being raised around aminules the way you were helped build a very sweet and endearing character. Blessings on you and yours, your papa

  16. Dear Faithy, you are right, the skunk, being nocturnal, runs afoul of owls quite often. I am surprised that no one has asked about a way to wash the smell off. Tomato juice doesn’t work, not at all but try hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. it works better than anything else! I certainly am not going to try to convince you that skunks don’t stink because it is surely one of the worst things you will ever experience. I mean, it is eye watering, breath taking, nasty awful!!!!! But it could be worst. The skunks chemical brew, under the right circumstances is quite combustible. Imagine an army of little black and white flame throwers running around in the woods? Yes, Petunia was one sweet little lady skunk! Bless you, Your papa, ME

  17. We love the story. Now I’ve got one of my own. I was about six years old and my father was driving our Buick. He managed to hit a skunk with stuck to the grill at the car. Mom I’m in dead stop the car and ran out. And after much consideration and thinking he got a long stick remove the stump as far away from the car as possible and we held our noses all the way home. It’s not as good as your story but it’s also true. Keep them coming Charlie

  18. We love the story. Now I’ve got one of my own. I was about six years old and my father was driving our Buick. He managed to hit a skunk with stuck to the grill at the car. Mom I’m in dead stop the car and ran out. And after much consideration and thinking he got a long stick remove the stump as far away from the car as possible and we held our noses all the way home. It’s not as good as your story but it’s also true. Keep them coming Charlie

  19. Herbert and his sweet lady Susette, that sort of experience has a tendency to stick to you doesn’t it? Here it is all these years later and when the weather is just right you can still smell the little stinker can’t you? Bless you both my friends, Chaz

  20. You know that a skunk makes a loving pet? If, you remove his stink glans. There was one, when I was a child, who would come to the back porch to eat the cat food. One day I opened the screen door and from a sitting position, slid myself onto the porch, maybe two feet from him, to take a picture. He watched me for a minute, then returned to the food after which he wattled off. They would also invade our campgrounds, putting there little feet on the tent door to pear in. One night we arrived, so late, at our destination, that we threw a tarp on the ground and our sleeping bags on that, rather then taking the time to put up the tent. We then went to sleep. Sometime in the night I woke to a noise, close to my head. I carefully turned my flash light on to find a skunk, maybe three feet away. The light sent him meandering elsewhere, in fact the whole camp ground was crawling with them. I carefully pulled a second tarp over us and quietly, nudging my two boys, whispered to them, if they heard anything in the night, to ignore and not to make a sudden move. By daybreak they had vanished into the woods. We had many encounters with them on our summer camping trips and were always amused by them. Often, things that terrify us are only due to our distorted viewpoint. I doubt that a lion would understand when I say, “We come in piece” and I certainly would not want to face down a bear. Still, like you, it is best to first analyze the situation and not to let fear rule the day.

  21. Loretta, Papa God tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you and wii never leave you or forsake you.” I have had a couple smelly encounters and many that were a delight but invariably I survived. Bless you and yours, Chaz

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