I saw one baby raccoon yesterday when I got home. He/she stumbled out of the woods, saw me, made that 'bleat' noise and beat a retreat. A wobbly retreat, but a retreat. The cat food I put out was gone -- did Baby eat it or not? Not sure.
I called the Wildlife Rehab center and they confirmed what I suspected: DO NOT HANDLE RACCOONS. Many of them carry a ringworm that's fatal to many animals and humans. It's in their poop and since coons aren't the tidiest of creatures, who knows where the poop is? Since the critter is still alive, there's a good chance it's been weaned but probably too soon (that is, Mom either abandoned it or got hurt and can't care for it). The Wildlife people and no humane society will come out to capture it. The DNR will come out to shoot it if it's obviously ill.
So I've compromised: I'll put a can of food out whenever the food disappears. I'll leave my shoes outside, use disposable gloves to touch any dishes, and generally fence off the area so the critter won't stray. If it lives, well, so be it. If not, well so be it.
In a perfect world, I could grab the baby, take care of it, and release it (sort of a Free Willy scenario). But I'm worried about disease, my pets, and my health. I'm willing to give Father Darwin a push, but not a shove, I guess.
The same is true of my writing -- I'm willing to do just so much promo, so much research, and put so much effort into my books. If more is required to be a Big Time Success, it'll just have to pass me by. I need to do what I'm comfortable doing and what I feel confidence about. I don't mind pushing the envelope sometimes, and I don't mind stepping out of my comfort zone, but I won't step into raccoon poop (so to speak): I want to know what I'm getting in for.
I go through this dilemma of orphaned animals every year and I suspect I'll be re-evaluating my writing as often, if not more so. Such is life, I guess. Always change, always a balancing act. Tipsy turvy, as it were.
Offline for a few days. I'm on the road again, going to a funeral tomorrow then coming back on Thursday. Hmm. 1000 miles in 5 days. Might be a record, even for me. And believe me, I've set some doozies in my day.