raccoon facts, free downloadable art, inspiration, anEtsy coupon, and more...
Welcome! So happy you stopped by! After a month of mostly rainy days, the sunshine is wakening the garden - and the weeds! I'm alternating between working in the garden and working on the book - all good!
I’m a member of Sierra Wildlife Rescue’s Squirrel Team, and several years ago the team was invited to visit the raccoons that were currently in care. There were five of them and what struck me most was how active their hands were. Their hands were always moving, fingering anything and everything around them. Fascinating!
A few years later when I was doing a bit of research on these animals, I found that their name comes from a Powatan word, “aroughcun.” The Powatan word was first recorded by John Smith, Governor of Jamestown, and it means “they touch things.” They certainly do!
Another common behavior has been interpreted as washing their food, but this is incorrect. Yes, they often dip things into water, but it’s not to wash them. Touch is a raccoon’s most important sense. Their front paws are “hyper-sensitive” and covered with a protective horny layer. That layer becomes pliable when it becomes wet. So, the “washing” behavior is actually a way for the animal to enhance its sense of touch and help identify food items.
Christopher Columbus leaves us the first written record of raccoons. In the five centuries since, we have detailed physical descriptions of the 22 known species of raccoons which, by the way, were first thought to be related to bears, dogs, or cats! it’s only relatively recently, however, that scientists have begun to document their social behavior. I think it’s a very good sign for those of us who advocate for animals that their behavior is a growing area of study.
By the way, this painting is watercolor and acrylic on rice masa paper adhered to a wood panel.
The Gift of Inspiration
Contemplating what we’re thankful for is such an important element of mindfulness. The other day, I identified “inspiration” as a gift that improves my life every day. “Inspiration” is a catalyst for a creative act or, on a more fundamental level, derives from the Latin words to “breathe in.” Yes, I can see that inspiration is the breath of a good life, taking into ourselves things that are beautiful, provocative, wonderful, awesome in our world, be it from the physical or spiritual realms. I’ve found that being inspired isn’t something you can force. It just happens. It’s an irresistible reaction to something that demands “see me!”.
For me, one of the most reliable sources of inspiration is animals. When I look into the face of a member of another species I see beauty, grace, cognition, and a marvelous sense of being in the present. Seeing an animal face makes me want – even need – to create something, to somehow preserve that feeling and pass it on.
What inspires you?
This month, I'm offering you, my precious subscribers, a 20% discount in my Etsy shop. The offer applies to everything in the shop, including this needle felted bear. From March 3 to March 15, just use discount code SPRINGBUNNIES20 at checkout. I ship the day after I receive your order, and shipping is free. Click on the image to the right to go to my shop!
This Month’s Free Downloadable Art - Spring Bunnies
Click on the image and it will open in a new window (from dropbox.com). You’ll see the image, and at the upper right of the window you’ll see three little dots. Click on them to open a menu, then choose “download.” This file is 2mb. Please note that I’m sharing this image for your personal use only.
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