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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Critters 'n Me


I’ve been reminiscin’ lately. Thinkin’ ‘bout all the critters that I’ve encountered, embraced, loved and revered.

I’m not just talkin’ ‘bout the cats and dogs, the salamander, turtle, gerbils, albino canary and goldfish that kept me company over the decades.

No.

My thoughts've ranged much farther and wider.

To the ‘possum in the dining room.

To the raccoon brood nesting in the chimney.

To the starling in the basement.

To the chipmunks in the garage and the mice in my cupboard.

To the newborn rabbit who died in my cupped hand.

To the bald-headed eagles roosting so majestically in the backwater trees along the Mississippi.

To the mule deer who contested the very concept of right-of–way on a razor-narrow trail on Hurricane Ridge (for the record...I conceded the matter).

To the skunk who lived beneath my shed. The skunk who flashed not a broad white stripe along her skull...but a halo. That’s right. She sported a bright white halo atop her head.

To the squirrel who lived within the boughs of my munificent evergreen. The squirrel I considered to be absolutely bat-shit crazy.

To the coyote who eyed me as his next meal...possibly...although his disdain/distaste for me was absolutely palpable.

To the 12-point white-tail buck that stood majestically atop a butte in the Badlands.

To the grey whale I witnessed at Point Lobos. Urban urchin that I am, I first thought it was a SUBMARINE! Seriously. It was THAT huge. Even today, I marvel at the image...and the remembrance that, just moments later, the sea lions stopped their barking...as the earth began to quake.

To the horned owl that ambushed me at sunset.

To the bobcat that made me crap my pants...at the exact moment he crapped his.

To the black bear and the bicyclists.

Oh! So many reveries! So many “Brushes with Nature”! Too many to recount. So many, in fact, that I feel rapturously enriched...positively blessed. So rich, in fact, that I swear Midas ain’t got nothin’ on me.

And then I recall the herd of pronghorn antelope I encountered on a back road in Wyoming. As is my wont, I had lost my way and found myself on a rutted dirt path in the middle of nowhere. My two-seat sports car had collapsed in a muddied rut that extended halfway down to China. No matter. Across the meadow grazed some 50 – 100 Pronghorn Antelope. The ENTIRE herd paused to observe this miscreant...moi. They stood at attention as I exited the shattered, smoking carcass of my car. They eyed me with undeniable curiosity and suspicion. I took one step towards them. They ALL took one step back. Hundreds of eyes peered at me with unmistakable curiosity.

I’d NEVER been contemplated with such intensity...before or since.

* * *

6 Comments:

Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Ah yes, the creatures we encounter who probably wonder about us just as we wonder about them.

Had pronghorn kebabs once... in Alberta... very tasty. Had a friend who hunted with a bow and brought some to a BBQ we had.

We may have the ability to make lots of stuff and manipulate our environment, but we sure don't have what it takes to survive on our own very well. And when you are eye to eye with something with teeth and claws and wildnerness smarts, it sure make you feel vulnerable and even inadequate.

Love your list, Jonas... and the photo is stunning. Truly!

Sun Sep 06, 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

I love seeing animal sin the wild so much that I often plan my travels around them. Costa Rica to see the animals of the rain forest, the Srenegeti to see the reat migration and the big cats, Australia for all it's strange marsupials. And even at home, I never get tired of encountering an eagle or heron or deer. Or even a squirel, all of whome are bat-shit crazy.

Sun Sep 06, 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

LOL @ Secret!

Possum in the laundry room... with a candle stick. [j/k @ the stick]
Piss my pants~ scared me!

Mon Sep 07, 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yes, Ponita, we tend to remember our brushes with Nature...forces greater than ourselves.

Now, I'm generally one who resists falling prey to envy. Little good ever comes from that. Even so, Covert Operative, my fingertips are aching and my fingers are decidedly turning green as I post this response. Costa Rica, the Serengeti, Oz!?! Sheesh! My cheeks look like two granny smith apples!

But you never met MY squirrel!!! (I feel better now)

My 'possum story is wildly funny. I may write about it sometime. Nothing like a wide-open 'possum mouth lined with razor sharp teeth (and that ungodly hissing) to humble a human.

Mon Sep 07, 06:14:00 PM  
OpenID bernice92 said...

Wow, you saw a bobcat wearing pants?

Tue Sep 08, 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yes! And not just yer ordinary "Born to be Wild" Levi's 501's. Oh no. I'm talkin' full-on MC Hammer glittery gold parachute pants!!!

Why else would I be so taken aback?

Tue Sep 08, 10:57:00 AM  

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