Wild Things, You Make My Heart Zing

We live on a tiny acreage on the outskirts of a small town on the Canadian prairies. Behind our property is miles of grain fields interspersed with huge patches of dense bush and a creek which meanders through it all. So when we have visitors of the four legged variety, it should come as no surprise and yet….

The other night, unable to sleep in our too warm house, I decided to slip outside, sit on the deck, and star gaze. Out the back door I went, the squeak of the hinges magnified by the silence of the night. As I closed the door and turned toward the yard, an enormous shape caught my attention.

My heart pounded in my chest. My legs vibrated with fear. I stood there frozen and eyed the creature staring back at me. It was only a moose but still, if it charged, would I be able to get back into the house before it cornered me on the deck and ate me?

(Yes, I know, moose are vegetarians but I’m a writer, hence I have a very vivid and exaggerated imagination.)

Unmoving, I stared at the moose. Unmoving, it stared back at me. Out the corner of my eye, something moved in the dark and I noticed a second moose just a few feet away from the deck where I stood. Silence swelled around us, thick with tension, fraught with the unspoken question … who would bolt first?

I did, of course, because I’m not only a few hundred pounds less than they are, but I’m also a bigger fraidy cat. I summoned the courage to unstick my feet from the deck floor and hightailed it back into the house where I flitted from window to window, checking out our visitors with the binoculars, trying to see them with only a sliver of moonlight shining on their huge bodies.

But then a third moose joined the first two and now that the humanly threat had vanished, they proceeded to consume the leaves from my roses and fruit trees, until finally they bedded down in the yard for the night. The next morning, they’d left behind proof of their presence, little piles of dark pellet turds all over the green grass.

Thanks for the thoughtful gifts, Wild Things.

 Will they be back? As I write this post, I’m watching for them, wondering not if, but when they’ll return.  It’s not the first time a moose has wandered into the yard and so close to the house.

What wild creatures have you seen up close? What did you do and how did you react?

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About Sheila Seabrook

Author of Single Title Romantic Comedy and Women's Fiction

Posted on October 19, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Sheila,
    What a wonderful sight in your yard! Living in the south in a densely populated area, our only encounters with nature include deer and coyote. How lovely for you to experience the joys of nature! Thanks for sharing!

    • Coyotes creep me out. How about you, Christy? As we were heading off to bed last night, we could hear a band of them yipping and howling. Yikes! It always makes me nervous that they’re going to come eat me, too. 😦

  2. That is so COOL. My wild things? Armadillos and raccoons. Not near as exciting!

    • Dianne, I would love to see armadillos and raccoons but have only seen them on TV. So I guess it’s a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence sort of thing. My wildlife may be exciting to someone who doesn’t have it in their area, but their wildlife is exciting to me. 🙂

      (Except for Tracy’s snakes ….)

  3. Sheila, the closest contact I’ve had with a moose was Bull Moose on TV. It is amazing to live in a place where wild things can come to rest on your lawn for the night. Most people would think us NYC types have never experienced these wonders. Yet, in the hills of Inwood Park in Northern Manhattan, where ancient tulip trees and 400 acres of wooded hills hug the shore of the river, wild things of a smaller variety co-exist with thousands of city dwellers. The gray owl, two pairs of swans and the falcons who nest in the steeple of Riverside Church, the blue jays and migrating ducks and geese. Small wooded animals like possum and rabbits also tease as we walk our dogs. We take joy in whatever wonders we can find in nature 🙂

    • First off, Florence, I had to go google the tulip tree. Oh my goodness, what beautiful pictures! I had always assumed, when seeing photos of NY in bloom, that the trees were crabapple or apple trees, like ours. I now covet a tulip tree for my own yard but I’m afraid our winters would kill it.

      Okay, while I dream about the tulip tree in full blossom, I must say how lovely it must be to walk along the shore of the river and see the swans, hear the owl, and watch the falcons. If I ever make it to NY for the RWA conference, I want you to be my tour guide. 🙂

  4. Wow! We went to Maine hoping for a moose sighting a few summers ago, but were disappointed. My only close encounters have been with deer while walking the dog. In Maryland, we backed up to a wetlands park and Jetta and I would often come around a corner and be face to face with a deer, each staring the other down. We also had several fox in the park, but they kept their distance. Unfortunately, we also had snakes. Big snakes. My reaction to those could be heard across the state. 🙂

    Next time the moose visit, take a picture for me!

    • Tracy, the picture of the moose above is actually one I took last summer. He (or maybe a she since there’s no horns?) came thru the yard and stopped to munch on some trees near our pond. I definitely need a camera with night vision though, because next time they gather together, I would love to get a picture.

      And the snakes … oh wow, you are absolutely a braver woman than I am. I would’ve hidden in the car the entire time!

  5. Wow! The Canadian prairie yields many wonders. Too bad the moose went for your rose bushes instead of bushes you’d been ho-hum about. I’ve got nothing to compare with your sighting, but my sister and brother-in-law in northwestern N.J. spotted a bear napping in their backyard. They let it sleep.

    • Yes, my poor rose bushes. A few days later, Pat, I checked them out and the moose had eaten the tops of all the branches. I hope the bushes are stunted in growth next year.

      A bear in their yard? Oh my, wouldn’t that be scary. I read Jill Shalvis’s blog and she often has bears visiting her garbage cans. It’s funny to read about but I’d be scared to go outside. 🙂

  6. Well, it looks like I’m coming late to the table on this one. In our small city across the bay from San Francisco last year we had a rash of raccoon attacks on dogs AND one humanoid. She actually had to go through rabies shots because they couldn’t find the raccoons who had gone after her and her dogs. Squirrels and birds here and that’s about it. How boring in comparison to all of the comments I just read. The closest to nature I get is to drive 15 minutes to the hills of Oakland and hang out with my horse where there are deer and wild turkeys.
    Patti

  7. This made me laugh, Sheila. Now that I’m back in Texas and in a regular neighborhood, the most we deal with is stray cats and possums…ooooh the possums get crazy.

    But when I lived in Colorado, we backed up to open space which at night teemed with coyotes that howled every time they caught something. You had to look around to make sure it wasn’t something of yours. lol. But there were also the occasional instance of mountain lions coming in from the hills, mostly because of more and more houses taking up their habitat, and a small one got hold of my dog one night when I let her out to do her business. Of course it was 10pm and dark and all I could hear was the horrible ruckus, and I guess my jumping up and down screaming made it let go and then my dog came bolting up the deck stairs all bloody. So we (hubby was out of town so “we” was me and my 3yr old daughter I had to get out of bed) traipsed to the all night emergency vet where my dog had to be totally shaved like a pig and get 14 drains put in all her wounds. Yay. Such fun.

    Lesson learned…stay in at night. Gotta pee? Hold it.

    🙂

    • Ohhh, scary, Sharla. So every time you went outside, even during the day, were you worried a mountain lion would show up and attack? I would be. Yikes!

      • Not really. They were really night time predators, and then go for things smaller than them. Unless they’re threatened or cornered, they will run away from humans. But at night, we’d just make sure if we were outside we made noise and weren’t alone. And didn’t let the dog out by herself either… lol.

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