An opossum came calling last night.
Unfortunately, my dog answered the call.

He has a thing about opossums in his yard
and it’s not a very nice thing.

After some discussion, he agreed to go back inside.
And I was left to assess the scene.

Walking up to the rumpled opossum,
it looked like the story would end here.
But there was something about the little guy
that still seemed alive.
He was perfectly still, with no sign of breath.
Call it a life force? Something?
Whatever it is, I sensed he still had it.

So I apologized for my dog’s behavior
thanked him for stopping by
and invited him to visit again, albeit carefully,
and continue his kind gesture, among many, of eating tics.
I promised he would have the night to re-group,
the dog would remain indoors.

By morning, the opossum was gone,
the clever little marsupial.
When threatened, they stop, drop, and ‘play possum’
losing consciousness for up to four hours!!
Fight or flight, apparently, are not the only answers.

Is there a lesson to be gleaned from this little creature
who moves through the world so peacefully?
Meantime, we humans dig deep trenches, and deeper still,
often lurching and reactive in response to threats, perceived or otherwise.

Could we, instead…pause?
Not fleeing or lashing out in the face of duress,
but holding our tongues, our fists,
making a different choice beyond reactivity
and toward presence, maybe even curiosity?

It’s a tall order in the world of humans right now
with powerful instincts to pick a side,
to align with likeness and reinforce our positions.

But you know, I think we’ve given that method
a pretty thorough shot
and come up the same every time,
with division, fear, and anger an inevitable by-product.

Perhaps the little opossum is onto something.
They have managed to survive, relatively unchanged,
for 65 million years.  It seems a valid case study.

It takes un-doing,
embracing different ways of knowing, of being.
Replacing reactivity with curiosity, with patience.

We won’t get it right every time.
We’ll fight, we’ll withdraw.
But our big brains have the ability to stay conscious.
To build on what the opossum teaches
to make it our own
to try something different
with each other
with the natural world
with our own Wild hearts.

There are more choices here
than the fight/flight binary we have been taught.
What if we were a little less bite
and a little more opossum?
That humble, mostly nocturnal peacemaker
who offers a different approach to difference.