Well something ate the daisies again.
I say ate, but the buds are left like little insect eyes just scattered on the ground. Decapitated is the word. Some are even caught up in the plants’ leaves. And the cuts are precise; I couldn’t imagine a squirrel doing that, unless it had scissors, which I know is next to impossible. Anyway the chicken shit I’d sprinkled on the ground was supposed to scare squirrels off. It’s almost like some grinning fairy did it in the night to piss us off. Or the woman my landlords let park her car in our drive: she’s nasty enough for such an act. But too dimwitted to figure out how to open the gate, I suspect.
I imagined maybe my neighbour Harry had done this as a service. Maybe he had thought that these buds somehow needed to be “deadheaded.” He did used to be a gardener, and who knows, maybe he knows best about these things. But I asked him and he said No, have you considered that it might have been squirrels? I told him the buds were just scattered on the dirt and some were caught in the leaves of the daisy plants. He registered surprise.
Then at 8 o’clock at night, as the sun had fallen past the houses to the west and the light was perfect, Marta and I looked out at the garden and maybe got a clue: Raccoons on the climbing hydrangea, little baby ones, right on top of the whole fence-hedge too. And they were putting hydrangea flowers right into their mouths. Raccoons eat flowers.
The neighbour clapped at them to shoo them off and we joked that the animals mistook it for applause.
So I guess these silly baby raccoons put daisies in their mouths and spat them out. Why not, other babies do it with apple sauce and peas. And no one ever heard of a racoon afraid of chicken shit.
I think people have a love-hate relationship with raccoons. They smell like the city trash heap but with their mask and stripes and their brontosaur hump they do look very good.