This morning I turned the page of the free calendar from my insurance carrier that hangs on my kitchen wall, which I usually forget to do altogether. But today I was looking forward to leaving hot, humid August and beginning cooler, crisper September. I was immediately surprised by the hulking outline of a moose standing in a crimson and yellow autumn landscape, having expected something more on the cute and innocent tone. Twice in my life I have seen a moose in its natural environment. It is by no means a cuddly animal, having a face that only its mother could love. Interestingly, their immense weight is carried by tall, boney legs.
The first moose that I saw had emerged from the woods to forage near the main road in our small rural town. He stayed in the area for several days, which moose are accustomed to do, grazing along until they leave for new pastures. People from two counties came by to see him, keeping at a safe distance, watching him with cameras and binoculars. He met his end as so often happens, because he did not understand the power of a train.
The second moose was mine, alone. I was driving on a rural road in the waning light of a mid-fall afternoon. As I rounded the corner on a hill a dark form was crossing the gravel. My car had been slowed enough by the incline that I was able to pull over and stop about 30 feet from this creature. I sat there and watched him as he slowly walked to the other side of the street and into the brush, all the time watching me. He ambled along through the scraggly vegetation. Then I saw how amazing Nature is. Even though he was no more than 100 feet from where I sat, his long, knobby legs blended in with the sparse trees and he disappeared. I blinked and stared harder but he was out of sight even though I knew he was still there.
It’s curious that almost two decades later, this is still so vivid in my mind. I rarely think of it but today the unanticipated picture on the calendar brought it right back to me.