Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Moonstone the Skunk

Do you remember the guest professor I was talking about before? Professor G? Well, my regular professor had told us another story about her, which I will relate to you instead of going to bed, like I should.

Prof. G. once had a pair of companions living in her home. She has a particular affinity for animals, and in the summer leaves her door open for animals to come and go. At one point, she had a groundhog and a skunk living in her home. Specifically, they slept in her armchair. At dusk or so, the skunk would crawl out of the arm of the chair and wander outside. A few moments later, the groundhog would come in, pull a wad out of the arm of the chair, crawl in, and go to sleep. In the morning, the groundhog would come out of the chair, stretch, and wander outside. A few moments later, the skunk would come back in, stuff the wad back into the arm, crawl in, and go to sleep.

Now, both animals were wild. They weren't tame, and they certainly weren't pets. Prof G did, however, christen the skunk "Moonstone."

Moonstone liked to go for car rides (I'm not sure how Prof G and Moonstone discovered this). When Prof G went to lecture at university, she would wake Moonstone up and show him the cat carrier. If Moonstone felt up to a ride, he'd get in the carrier and away they'd go. When they got to the lecture hall, she'd put Moonstone's carrier behind the podium so nobody got nervous. No one ever knew...until the one day she didn't latch the cat carrier properly.

Prof G. was giving a lecture on Native North American worldview, and she hadn't noticed until Moonstone was halfway across the floor between the podium and the first row of seats. She kept quiet about it, knowing that if she pointed Moonstone out, there'd be a panic and he might spray. Moonstone wandered up to the front and started sniffing students' backpacks at their feet. Once Moonstone was satisfied, he sauntered back to his carrier and got in. Quickly, then, she latched the cage so he couldn't get back out.

Then she asked the class, "Did anyone just see anything unsual?"

At first no one put up their hand, but then one girl did: "Well, this sounds weird, but I thought I saw a skunk...except it can't be that, because there can't be a skunk in here."

Prof G. picked up the cat carrier, put it on the podium, and opened the door. A little black-and-white stripped nose poked out...and the class went into a panic, grabbing their bags and running from the room.

The moral, according to my professor, is that the post-Enlightenment way of thinking, for all of its benefits, has several problems, one of which being that we literally do not see something if we don't believe it is possible...and this has reprecussions in the study of religion, particularly Aboriginal religions. This theory may not be terribly interesting, so I'll leave it at that. You can post if you want more info.

However, is this not an awesome story? I now keep hoping for the day that I see a skunk in class, wandering around at my feet. If it happens, I plan to stay very quiet, and maybe I'll have the chance to pet him...and hopefully I won't get sprayed when the class freaks out and runs away.
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