Animals That Aren’t Afraid of the Light

In Caledon we have two kinds of animals: animals that are and are not afraid of the light. In the first category (animals that are afraid of the light), we have: deer, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, rabbits, mink, wild cats, skunk. (The light I’m referring to is, of course, artificial light, as, even though some are nocturnal, none of these animals are entirely shy of the light of day.)

The animals that aren’t afraid of the light include our housepets: our dog, two cats. Three additional cats, orphaned when my parents moved away, are in between both categories. Often they will meow at our lit windows, though we don’t let them in, and they haven’t really been let in in years, long before my parents moved away. They fear, of course, headlights, engines, car wheels, and sensibly remove themselves from their activity. They are between both categories because they have achieved a sort of self-sufficiency (though we supplement their diet). For an entire year the mother, who used to shit on our bedspreads, lived on her own in the forest. At that time it was only with major coaxing that she’d slip her purple-grey paws out of the wreckage of shed and greet me. Light, however, was perhaps associated with the wrath of my mother (who kicked her out late one night in April), and so she kept her distance.

There is another kind of creature that is not afraid of the light, but doesn’t fully belong to that category. They are the insects that cling to our black windows: moths, gnats, various flies, their ghostly white bodies tramping over the transparent like a parade of stags, leaving behind thin grey streaks, their droppings.

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