Friday, May 13, 2016
A Stinging Rebuff
I suppose it's a lingering effect of my suburban upbringing that I still don't feel entirely comfortable in the woods alone. Not that we have particularly dangerous woods around here. No bears, no wolves, not even any moose*.
This does not mean that I can't imagine dangers so remote as to be ludicrous, however.
I have ample opportunity to dream up these unlikely scenarios as I do my very early morning trail runs up to the Plantation, because it's not quite light when I go. Light enough to see where I'm going, but the sun isn't up all the way yet at 5:30 a.m. That time just before dawn is the best time to see animals in the woods. Or the worst, if you don't actually want to see animals.
So far I've only seen small birds and deer, and heard a lot of wild turkeys gobbling in the gully. But I can imagine that there are rabid raccoons just waiting around the curve in the path up ahead. Or, worse thought, a coyote.
This is not as unlikely as it might be, actually, since there are big coyotes in those woods. You may remember A.'s helpful comment that they would only attack children and small women. I don't want to know if I'm considered small enough for a coyote to attack.
I still remember seeing a coyote right in the Plantation several years ago when I used to walk the dogs up there every morning. I almost walked right past it, it was so still. When I caught sight of it, I stopped immediately, and just stared at it. It did the same. Then the four large dogs in the vicinity came bounding up the gully bank and the coyote disappeared. It was a memorable experience, and not one I would wish to repeat without my furry security contingent.
This morning when I went out at 5:30, it was darker than usual because it was raining and the cloud cover had blocked the dawn light. I thought maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a dog with me again, just to ease my suburban-reared mind, you see. Mia is too stiff and gimpy these days to run much. The puppy would be no use whatever (except as a smaller and slower sacrificial offering--but I didn't think of that at the time). That left Otty.
I let Otty out of the back hall and started up the lane to the pasture.
She didn't follow.
I called her. Still nothing.
I walked back down, found her, and announced with appropriate excitement, "C'mon, Otty! We're going for a walk! Let's go for a walk!"
She looked at me for a second, then turned around and went the other way.
"Fine, Otty," I yelled. "I'm going on a walk without you and if I get eaten by a coyote, you'll be sorry."
Obviously, I did not get eaten by a coyote. I am still burning from that canine diss, though.
Harsh, Otty. Way harsh.
* Sometime I should tell you about the time I saw a moose on my way to the bus stop in Alaska, about a quarter mile from our house. I was nine years old. It was pitch black--as it always is at 8 a.m. in the Alaskan Interior in the winter---and I was walking along with my tiny Maglite, and there was a noise, and there was a really big moose on the side of the road, so I turned around and went home. I . . . guess that's it.