I captured this photo yesterday at a park in my town. I’m assuming they’re raccoon prints, those masked night-time bandits.
Two hundred years ago on this land, there were large numbers of bears, elk, antelope, wolves, and mountain lions sampling the plentiful sea fare. The birds were so copious they sometimes darkened the midday sky.
Now the skies are mostly empty, and the only animals still living in my fairly urban neighborhood are those who brave the night: raccoons, skunks, possums, rats. Sometimes in the daylight, I’ll notice a misplaced deer grazing dangerously close to the freeway, too often already a casualty to a car.
Our imprint has overtaken this land. So it’s exhilarating to find evidence of a wild being–one who leaves its mark in the dark of night, a handprint much like our own.