Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

26.12.04

No silent nights around here.

They live in the trees next to the garage - three 30-foot conifers, standing there like giant Christmas trees, way too big to decorate. There must be enough living space in there to cater for an entire colony of possums. I think the colony is growing.

They must have come down some time after midnight, when no creature is meant to be stirring on Christmas Eve. I woke to hear their growling, if growling is what you would call it. It sounds like a giant being strangled and not being happy about it. A kind of deep, guttural, insane noise. At 2am it would frighten the life out of you if you didn't know it was possums. Cute, harmless possums.

The cute, harmless possums kept up their Christmas Eve racket for what seemed like hours. It wasn't just their manic song-fest; they kept going back home to the trees and then returning. To fetch what? Beer? Every time they did so, the crashing across the double garage steel roof sounded like a basketball team was up there practising their dribbling.

I fell asleep only to wake later to a mournful wailing rising to a sharp crescendo. I got up and threw the window open. White flashes shot off in opposite directions. Cats fighting. Why do cats fight? And why can't they do it quietly? Couldn't they just sit there and glare balefully at each other?

At around five thirty, the birds began their daily morning song, welcoming Christmas Day. That's a beautiful noise, at least.

Happy Christmas, world.

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