Shelter from the Storm

Photo by Paxson Woelber – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Last night we heard a great thump at the side of the house. I went out in the raging storm in time to see a giant raccoon slip into the crawl space under our house. Someone had left the hanging door unbolted and this magnificent, intelligent creature managed to push the heavy wood flap up from its top hinges and slip in before the door shut. The weight of that door, had it struck the raccoon, would have crushed it. 

I tried to prop the door open but the stay slipped in the mud and the edge of the door clipped my wrist, which later swelled and ached. 

The rain blew so hard I was soaked in minutes. Squatting at the opening to the crawl space, I held the door up with one hand and with the other swept the dark with a four D-cell Maglite. One raccoon popped its head out from behind the cripple wall that marks the start of our front porch. I caught another set of bright eyes peeking from the far corner of the crawl space. At least two. And these raccoons were not coming out from safety into pelting rain and gusting wind. I thought about locking the door, let these two stay for the night but prevent others from entering. Then I thought they might become desperate and destroy the heating ducts and such.

In the end, I left the door unlocked. Let them all find shelter for the night, while the storm drain on the street in front of our house, where they usually live, remains flooded. Why not? What else is a house for?