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Close Encounters of the Moose Kind

January 9, 2012

In our neighborhood we have an undeveloped area of land that we affectionately call the field.  It serves several purposes…dog park, sand box, and photography studio.  This Sunday afternoon both the dog and my three-year old son looked a little restless.  So we decided to take a walk through the field. The field also seems to be home to moose.  We seem to have a male and female that show their majestic faces, more in the winter than in the summer.  In previous years we’ve seen them wander through the neighborhood and into unfenced backyards. Not too long ago my husband was taking our lab for a walk and he spotted the moose far off in the distance.  Here is a picture he took of her.

Now when I take the dog I am cautious and scan the field for the moose.  This afternoon I did the same and saw no sign of them.  We walked through the field looking for deer tracks and watching Abi bound through the tall grass.  We made our way to the back of the field and hiked up a steep hill.  From there you can see the surrounding area and neighborhood.  Still no sign of the moose. There is a wooded area that sits between the houses and road that runs along the outer edge of our neighborhood.  My son calls that the “enchanted forest”.  My husband has taken my son and the dog through that expanse before. It has a winding path that eventually will take you back to the road.  You may have to sneak through someone’s backyard to get there.  But it’s a nice little hike.  My son wanted to walk that way so, my son, dog, and I headed in that direction.  Abi was much further ahead of us. Lucky for us she is oblivious and ran right in front of the moose and paid no attention to her.  As Quinlan and I rounded the bend I saw the moose.  She was 10 feet away from us and standing in a small clumps of trees.  Unmoving and staring. She was watching me intently to see what we would do.  I quickly and quietly picked up my son and called our dog.  Abi came running past us back the way we had come.  I looked back several times but the moose wasn’t following us.  I was listening intently, for the sounds of the moose’s hoofs pounding the ground.  Luckily I didn’t hear them. We made our way out of the woods with no sign of the moose.  I was thanking god that the moose didn’t feel threatened and charge us.  What would I have done?  I thought I heard that moose have bad peripheral vision and you should zig zag because they can lose you.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  They have fantastic peripheral vision and you should run straight ahead. Now, ask me if I’m scared of moose and I would say no.  However, I have seen “When Animals Attack” several times and moose are very powerful animals.  So in that moment I was terrified of the moose.  I had my son with me and anything ever happening to him is one of my worst nightmares.  Walking away from the field with my adrenal pumping I was very thankful.

My husband thinks I’m being a little over dramatic about this whole experience.  And he may be right.  We may have not been in any real danger.  However, it’s far better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to my children.  And I’m in no hurry to find out if we would be as lucky if we meet the moose again.  This morning after I dropped my son off at school my neighbor invited me over for coffee.  I told her about our run in with the moose as we exchange stories about the weekend.  When it was time to leave we walked back through her front yard.  I noticed something I hadn’t before. I had to look this up on the internet.  But I’m pretty positive it’s a moose track.  There were several of them spaced very far apart.  Looks like our friend has been visiting the neighborhood.

After our encounter I posted about it on Facebook.  Inevitably someone asked where my camera was.  It was sitting on the counter at home.  As awesome as it would be to take a picture of a moose that close I am okay that I missed that opportunity.  Being an avid scrap booker I want to capture everything with my camera.  However, sometimes you don’t need a camera to make sure you won’t forget a moment.  The emotions connected with it are so strong and overpowering that it will be forever seared into your memory. In this case fear.  It’s like the moment I first held my babies.  No mother will ever forget that, even without a picture of it because you are so over come with love. Every once in a while you need to just be in the moment to really enjoy it.  Savor it. Live it.

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