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.