Late the other night, we were sitting in the darkened living room talking and looking out at the dim glow of moonlight washing over everything, when suddenly we noticed a strange form standing only a couple of feet away from the door. I slowly got up and walked over for a closer look but was barely able to make out the form. I got the flashlight and we both quietly crept back toward the door. To our amazement, there in the focused light, we saw an extremely large porcupine, in all of its glory. She was huge with 8-10 inch quills. She just stood there where the yard meets the terrace, as if trying to get our attention. Finally, annoyed with the bright light she scurried down the stone footpath, off across the lawn and down the hill.
Two days later we were taking our evening walk through the meadow. As we crossed the third field, about 10 minutes into our walk, we both saw a form in the tractor tire path, which is our trail. Since it was not moving we both thought it was a dead animal and stopped short—about 15 feet away, to rethink our direction. As we looked for a detour, our gaze was drawn to the animal. It looked like it might have been a large bird with black and white wings, fallen onto the path. Suddenly we realized that it was not a bird. No. It was another porcupine, evidently taking a snooze. He didn’t seem to even be aware that we were there. After several minutes of watching and waiting, he moved his head as if just waking up and groggily stood up, slowly shook his head side-to-side with eyes mostly closed, turned and ambled away through the tall grass—evidently with no great concern and in no real hurry.
In Italy, the porcupine is considered good luck (or good lucky, as our Italian friend, Barbara says), especially if one comes to your door. We aren’t superstitious, but given that there have been two of them within a few days, maybe this is one superstition we might just decide to believe in. They were each so insistent on getting our attention. Surely something very good is on the way!
Note: You may want to read another related story called “Porcupines and Dental Hygiene.”