My cat and I were sitting in the garden one fine spring afternoon. I noticed she was taking great interest in a cranny behind one of the trees. I looked closely and was amazed to discover an opossum helplessly gazing up at me. I backed off just a bit, to let it know I wasn’t going to harm it.
I kept watching it, though. In a few minutes, the possum began to lick its belly over and over. Then the most incredible thing happened. She gave birth to a tiny, bean-like baby whose closed eyes were barely discernible. But slowly the baby followed the moisture up the mother’s stomach, until it finally made its way to the pouch and tucked itself in.
I told my cat that she was not to disturb the mother, as a gesture of female solidarity. And somehow my cat understood. We both watched this amazing scene as several more babies made their arduous trip to the safety of the marsupial pouch.
What a wonderous universe we live in! To think that a newborn can know what to do in its first few minutes of life, before it can even see. I felt honored to have experienced this moment, and to share a knowing female bond between the mother possum, my cat, and me.