My eyes relax while watching the snow fall outside the sliding door. In extreme contrast, my ears bleed from hearing the news on the television. The news, whether local or national, is depressing. The national debt and the crafty term “fiscal cliff” developed to describe the nation’s money problems, and the scary term “sequester” have driven me farther into the mountains behind the house.
As we hike higher up the steep grade on an access road carved on the side of the mountain, we keep our eyes peeled for the resident cougar. We see movement off to the right at the base of pine trees. We stop and our Aussie shepherd smells the air. More movement . . .
Oh, they’re deer. The Aussie takes off running with plans to herd the deer back to us, but she soon returns alone and we keep hiking upward into deeper snow and fresh hoof prints. My boyfriend sees some very large deer tracks. “I think those are moose tracks,” he said. As if I have to ask him I say, “Are you sure?” Of course they are moose tracks. He’s a better tracker than I am. I’m too impatient and just want to keep hiking, hoping to see the animal that left the tracks as soon as possible.
The higher we hike, the deeper the snow – should’ve brought the snow shoes. As we round a bend, there they are; two gorgeous moose. As I fumble with my camera, the moose trot away, dissing me.
Darn! I missed the shot, but I was overjoyed to see the moose, even for just a millisecond, in all their magnificent, funny, goofy-looking glory. They really do look like Bullwinkle. By this time, the snow is nearly up to my knees and it is hard to walk, but we keep going.
As we round another twist in the trail, we find an indent in the snow where one moose had rested, and where bloody polka dots litter the snow. A few feet farther along the trail, another bloody indent. My boyfriend and I both thought that the cougar had nabbed one of the moose. Then we see another bloody indent and I said out loud, “Maybe it’s giving birth!”
It may be too early in the season, but it sure looked like the imprint of labor to me; walk a little ways, buckle over and lie down, get up, walk a little bit, buckle over and lie down . . . Am I right ladies?
I’ll never know exactly what happened in the woods on the mountain, but I do know that our national debt and the sequester are unimportant entities to the moose on the mountain, and to the cougar who hunts them. They’re too busy finding food, giving birth or nurturing wounds, and trying to stay alive.
Because I inherited my news addiction from my mother my ears will continue to bleed, but when my mood gets noticeably dire and my sense of hearing can take no more assault, I head up the mountain to see what my wild neighbors are up to.
Happy mental health and happy to ya!
- Neighborhood Moose (writehess.wordpress.com)
- 12 cow moose radio collared near Libby as part of study (missoulian.com)