Baby Possum makes its debut

Vera came back after 3 days, and she’s been with us again for two. This afternoon we spotted the baby … out of the pouch. Vera has it safely snuggled between her body and the containers so it can’t fall off again. So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce … Skydiver.



An Australian Verandah Possum called Vera

We couldn’t just keep calling her ‘possum’ after the bonding incident a couple of days ago. Before that we didn’t know ‘she’ was a she at all. I had an aunt called Vera. It’s not a name that has enjoyed renewed popularity, but I thought it went well with ‘verandah’, so Vera she is.

Regular readers (ahem) will remember my discovery, nearly 4 weeks ago, of the possum on top of my Art supplies cupboard. Irregular readers may like to scroll back.

Anyway, two days ago I was making myself a ‘nice hot cup of tea’ in the kitchen, as Australian and British women of my vintage are wont to do, when I heard loud banging coming from the verandah. I went out to investigate and found my son Jeremy stamping at the cupboard possum who, he said, had been making aggressive moves towards him (later we decided she might have actually been seeking his help). Possums have been known to run up people’s bodies, leaving nasty scratches, so I understood his concern.

To me, the possum wasn’t looking so much aggressive as frantic. Now it’s fairly unusual for a possum to be up and about in the daytime, so I wondered what was wrong. I asked her what was wrong, but she just ran around in desperate circles. Then we heard little squeaky noises, but couldn’t place exactly where they were coming from. We surmised immediately that our cupboard possum was a mother, and that her baby had fallen off the cupboard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be sure whether the baby had fallen behind the cupboard or amongst the assortment of materials I had stored in the gap between cupboard and wall.

While the mother possum ran wildly around the verandah, along beams and railings, looking for her baby, I began gently removing the stuff beside the cupboard. And there was the tiny, almost hairless creature, cinging to a foldup chair.

We tried to show the mother where her baby was, but she clambered back up on top of the cupboard. So Jeremy tenderly picked up the baby and handed it back to her. She had a devil of a job getting it back into her pouch for it clung to her frantically, upside down around her neck, with its hind legs around her face.

It suddenly occurred to me to get my camera but alas, when I returned, the baby was safely back in the pouch and mother possum settled in her usual place behind the containers.

That night I left parsley and apple out for Vera. She wouldn’t come down while I was standing there (armed with camera this time), so I retreated inside my studio. Later I saw her through the glass door, thoughtfully nibbling on the apple. The parsley had disappeared. She loves parsley … devours my parsley plants every time I forget to cover them with netting.

She wasn’t on top of the cupboard the next day. And she hasn’t been back since. She often goes missing for a few days at a time so it’s not unusual. I can’t help but wonder though, if she hasn’t decided the top of the cupboard is no longer a safe place for her baby.

A Scanner’s Musings – from an Australian verandah

It’s a morning like any other, yet not quite like any other. For one thing there are a few less leaves on the wisteria. Grammatically speaking, that should be ‘a few fewer’, but I’m sure you’ll agree that’s not a good sound. Even ‘a couple fewer’ sounds clumsy … yet another example of ‘right’ being ‘wrong’.

Anyway – not as many leaves, so a little more sun on the verandah.

I’m holding the writing surface at an angle so the texture of the paper is revealed, and interesting shadows are being cast by the pen as I write. Quite fascinating really. The surface of the pen is also catching the light and casting a reflective arc ahead of the pen. Sharp. Delicate. What I write doesn’t seem important because the process itself is mesmerising.

Ah yes … process. We Scanners* are in love with process. But you know, Ive grown just a little bit tired of process. Just once in a while I’d like to arrive. At what point does ‘exploring’ become just blundering around?

I’ve done more than my share of that in my life – aimlessly wandering, always looking for ‘something more’, occasionally thinking I’ve found it, but the thing found is not nearly so interesting as the thing sought.

“You need to focus on the present moment,” I’m told. Good advice, I suppose. Except that maybe I do too much of that already. I’m doing it now … enjoying the morning mid-winter light at play on the verandah – tripping lightly along cobweb strands linking a serviette box to who-knows-where (for the other end is lost in shadow).

Earlier I wrote a haiku. (Mary Gray** would be pleased.)

morning light magic
caresses brown grasshopper
patiently munching

(Not the greatest haiku ever written, I know, but hey – we’re in ‘present moment’ mode remember, where judgement is suspended.)


In truth, I don’t think the grasshopper is munching. At least, there are no munch traces, and I suspect these particular leaves are too tough (but who knows what a desperate drought-driven grasshopper might eat!). It’s possible, I suppose, that the grasshopper is just basking in the sun like me and the cat.

Back to the present moment …

mingle of birdsong
cacophony of not-too-distant cars
new neighbours’ voices
giggles of children

and everywhere this dancing light.



So you see, I don’t neglect the present moment. And the moment is nice while it lasts. Afterwards, though, there are still the bills to be paid, family problems to be dealt with, long neglected artwork calling for attention, after the enlightenment the dishwashing – or something like that.

Hmm, it’s much easier to return to the present moment …………………

I have to hold the paper at a different angle now to recreate those light effects.

* I’m currently reading a book called ‘Refuse to Choose’ by Barbara Sher. ‘Scanner’ is her term for what Margaret Lobenstine calls ‘Renaissance Soul’, which overlaps with ‘Enneagram 7’.

** Mary Gray conducts an excellent online haiku course