Herding Armadillos and An Overdue Letter

How close can you get to an armadillo? Depends on how brave you are. The Man Of Few Words recently got close enough to photograph the hairs on its back, gently poked at them and concluded they’re more leathery than armored (oblivious, too), and grinned at me. We should all be so trusting.

Last week one of ’em almost ran up my leg. After a few “Oh, OH’s!” it scampered into the underbrush. (Didn’t realize they could run so fast!) As a result of that — plus previous encounters with cottonmouth snakes and a stray dog — I’m still a lil’ gun shy and/or photo shy with unexpected “up close and personal” opportunities to document Oklahoma’s wildlife. But, I appreciate “seeing” all of it — even through someone else’s lens — and I’m feeling braver by the day.

Thankfully Mama armadillo wasn’t around. (Not sure what I would’ve done with a full-sized armadillo chasing after me!) Here’s another pic of one of the babies courtesy of TMOFW, followed by a long-promised letter from me. Sometimes words are more forthcoming than photography on my part.

Dear Friends,

I’ve been a letter-writer all my life. Pen pals. Best friends. Family members. Even long distance crushes. (More on that momentarily.)

As long as I have a pen in my hand with access to paper, stamps, and a mailbox, I’m a happy camper. I’d even go so far as to say that if I don’t write something every day I’d be as skittish as an armadillo. (Bet you’ve never heard that comparison before.) Whether or not my thoughts make it to another human being’s mailbox, the fact is: I WRITE every day. Some days I scramble into the underbrush. Tentative. Unsure. Unable to to portray the real “me.” Still, I write nonetheless.

Life’s too short not to be candid.

Speaking of that long-ago long-distance crush, what a humbling moment that was in my letter-writing life. I grew up on a flat, fenced farm in rural Minnesota and the nearest body of water was a tributary named the “creek” (pronounced crick) a quarter-mile away. More of a dribble than a tributary, except during the Spring and Fall rains when it overflowed and chewed away at our rural gravel road with a gaping whirlpool — it served as a convenient get-away after a short hike — a respite and quiet place to think and write. I’ve been looking for the ideal spot all my life and finally found it at “The Lake.” (Thank you, God.)

Round about that time the musical “Oliver” was released. While everyone else was enamored by Mark Lester — the “star” — my girlish notions were captivated by The Artful Dodger, Jack Wild. (For some reason, I’ve always favored the underdog — a life-long habit, ahem.) I wrote a letter to him on the banks of the “crick” and put it in the mail, hopeful of his personal reply. Imagine my chagrin when the mailman returned my letter a few days later due to “insufficient postage.” (Who knew international postage rates applied?!) Appalled and ashamed, I tore up my love letter and tossed them into the flowing waters of the “crick.” Since then, I’ve decided to do a lil’ more research, pay the price (as needed), and continue to let people know how I feel — postage rates or not. Also sorry to learn that he succumbed from cancer at an early age.

I’ve also learned not to mess with Mama!Above is TMOFW’s favorite goulash with corn because that’s the way his Mom made it. Who am I to upset tradition? Ever the faithful wife. :)

Some lessons are learned alongside fledgling waterways, heart-felt love letters returned with insufficient postage, and “the lake.” (Even armadillo encounters…)

I’m grateful for every one of them on the journey toward being “me.”

Enjoying discoveries one day at a time,

~ Kim

10 thoughts on “Herding Armadillos and An Overdue Letter

  1. Are armadillos mean? I would have just tried to pet it–kind of like the time I tried to pick up the snake in my basement because I thought it would just let me take it by the back of the head and release it outside. Fortunately, it was small so the teeth didn’t even break the skin–LOL!

    • Catherine, I don’t think they’re mean — just jumpy and unpredictable at a times. It’s doubtful that they’d bite (unlike your basement snake — thank goodness that encounter turned out okay!) — and their snouts appear more acclimated to digging than biting. Frankly, I don’t know WHAT they’ll do and it’s the “unknown factor” that unnerves me. Normally I’m docile and trusting and I believe (in my mind) that my “Grizzly Adams” appreciation of nature will transmit from me to them, but they’re called WILD life for a reason. Be safe, and when in doubt DON’T! Hre’s to trying to make friends with armadillos. :)

  2. I have a vivid memory of my best friend’s dad trying to catch an armadillo for her to take to school for show and tell. He was in his cowboy boots and shorts, trying to wrangle the rascal into a five gallon bucket. Apparently they jump as well! :) Keep writing!

    • Debra, I laughed so hard at your “visual” — great story! Yes, armadillos DO jump — they also run pretty dang fast. :) Hoping to join you ‘n’ my IMK pals in July (realistically, August)… we’ll see what this week brings. You never know here at the lake!

    • What a delight to read your reply, Sister Ruth. Oft times I re-read posts too (three or more times!) because the power of the words and/or accompanying images amaze me. And, some things bear repeating! :) Thanks for “seeing” inner beauty. You’re a gem, xo!

  3. I was especially moved by this letter Kim. I’m not sure why. Keep writing and enjoy everyday. Amanda Kay

    • Thanks, Amanda Kay! When those “not sure why” moments present themselves, it’s best to pay attention. (Happens all the time to me, lol!) I’m glad Russ’s armadillos and my letter appealed to you… miss you… hope all is going well, xo.

  4. A great post! And your writing is a really wonderful habit. I don’t even know how to write anymore. I mean, I have to occasionally write out a check, and my hand hardly works. Too much time on the keyboard, I guess. Yikes, I never want to see any snake, poisonous or not.

    • Thank you, Mimi! I also hear ya on those “questionable” handwriting days. Sometimes my palm doesn’t recognize the feel of my pen, but I persevere — with profuse apologies for the previous alliteration and to those on the receiving end of my messy penmanship. :) Ye gads — snakes! Thankfully we haven’t had any in our yard (yet) despite the high lake levels. We can hope!

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