Half of me was lost in a Mozart playlist on Spotify. The other half lost in worried thoughts over my son and a boatload of things over which I’ve got mostly zero control over. Yes, I know. Let go.

Easier said than done.

The Poodle slowly plodded along at my left side, stopping once or twice to smell something particularly delightful to his senses along the red-clay, rain-soaked ground. We’re on our morning constitutional; it’s nearly eight a.m. which is late for us as usually we’re out just as the sun barely is visible over the hills in the distance. With luck we will get in our four or so miles before more rain sets in.

Usually my head is held high as I walk, taking in the scenery even though it isn’t riveting by any stretch. As I walk, I try to be mindful of my posture; back straight, tummy pulled in and shoulders back. I’m usually looking around for cardinals or the occasional blue bird …or I’m watching clouds as they float overhead …or, as of late, on high alert for that “button” dog, the German Shepherd that makes my four-legged love go bonkers.

But today, lost in thought, my eyes were cast down at the road under my feet. I’m not sure what made me look up but it’s a darned good thing I did.

Not 50 feet away was a skunk strolling in ever so a relaxed manner, straight up the middle of the road…in my direction.

Holy S**T!

What’s a skunk doing out in daylight?  Aren’t they nocturnal?  This cannot be good!  Thoughts of rabies make my heart race.

Not so fictional Pepé-Le-Pew!

Not so fictional Pepé-Le-Pew!

Naturally I’m wide awake now and wondering in a flash as to why the heck The Poodle didn’t notice the not-so-fictional Pepé LePew’s advance?   Apparently The Poodle was as zoned-out as I was! I suppose that’s no surprise given that he has walked this route every day for nearly five years and it must be painfully boring to him by now.

I beat feet to the far right side of the road literally dragging The Poodle as now, with his tail happily wagging and whining with excitement, he’s decided he’s got a new friend to meet.

I thought the sight of a human with a dog (one that is larger than Pepé) would be enough to scare the skunk off.  But…um…no!

You’ve got to be kidding me!  A skunks spray can reach fifteen feet or more! Pepé is much too close for comfort.  I break into a jog now and oh by the way, Pepé had picked up the pace too…continuing his advance directly towards us.

I stopped and picked up a rock just off the sidewalk and was preparing to throw it when all of a sudden Pepé makes an abrupt turn, scurrying off the road, down the side of the steep hill, disappearing into a rocky crevice.

Thoroughly relieved I dropped the rock. “Whew. Well that was close!” I say to The Poodle who seemed confused as to why I didn’t do a meet and greet with the little “dog” sporting a black coat with a large white stripe.

I pat my boy on his fluffy head. “Sorry my love. That’s not a “dog” you want to play with.”

“Come, let’s go.”

A lovely Mozart piano concerto (no. 16 in C major to be precise) is now playing making my heart happy but the rest of me was now focused on my surroundings as we resumed our walk down the hill towards the main road. No sooner than I had rounded the corner there was….

AS GOD IS MY WITNESS….

another skunk…in the middle of the road.

Seriously? This is just too weird.

What’s more, It was readily apparent that this was not Pepé but rather perhaps his wife, significant other, or even a distant cousin. I say this because this was a Striped Skunk of a different color with a coat the exact opposite of Pepe’s. Her (or his?) fur was entirely white with a black stripe down the center of its tail.

Wowza! Interesting.

Now The Poodle barks but it was not enough to get “Snowflake” running.  Instead she (?) continued up the middle of the road too as if out for her leisurely morning stroll. I backtrack a few steps then turn onto another road as I drag my barking Poodle behind me.

Forget birds…This place is going to the skunks.

That does it. Homeward Poodle!

I’m thoroughly not feeling a long walk now as images of being sprayed by not one, but two skunks, knocks my Mozart bliss to the curb.

Let’s revisit our walk later today.