Life Lessons From An Opossum: An Art Story

Opossums are underappreciated.  I used to think of them as rabies threats that snarled at you with wicked grins and naked rat tails.  But then, I men one in my garden.  And that sweet creature changed my mind.

Life lessons from an opossum: Stay still and wait until danger passes. Smell the phlox.


This opossum story is a part of my project to transform my #augustsketches sketchbook into a print book for you by narrating the best stories.  (If you haven’t downloaded my free ebook of those nature sketches yet, join my email list to get your copy!  If you’re already on my email list, search back through your junk mail, I sent you a free ebook!!)

I burst out my front door about 8pm to grab something from the garage.

Something big scurried away from the foot of our porch stairs and I screamed… I didn’t see anything… I took a step closer to the top of the stairs to check if the coast was clear — more scurrying, more screaming.

I burst back into the house and slammed the door.  I told my husband, “there’s a opossum out there, a opossum right by the steps!”

I went back out to scare it away.  The opossum was still.  It was hunkered down in a bed of phlox.  Watching me.  I was watching it.  I shouted and threatened, I waved my arms, I shouted again.

The quiet opossum turned it’s head and smelled the phlox flowers.  Then it turned it’s head back.

Really?!  Aren’t you even going to scurry up that tree to safety?  Shoo, shoo!  I need something from the garage!!  Shoo, shoo, SHOO!!

It slowly, calmly, quietly moved up the trunk of our cherry tree and stopped at the fork in the tree.  Three feet off the ground.  It smelled the phlox again.  It turned to watch me.  Haha, ok.  Fine, we’ll be friends you little sweetie.

We talked for a while.  I went in and made my husband get what I needed from the garage while I chatted with the possum and the opossum smelled the phlos.

Come back any time, friend.  My phlox is your phlox.  Help yourself to anything on the compost pile that you want.

Opossum’s lesson?

Stay still and wait until danger passes.  Smell the phlox.

For various political reasons, this felt like an extremely relavent lesson that day.  Happily, nuclear war has not broken out.

If you love my #augustsketches and want to read more stories like these, stay tuned to my email list because print copies of my sketchbook with stories like this are coming soon!

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