Tuesday, 26 August 2008

On close encounters with mooses

For the time being, I will leave out a detailed description of the beach party, except to say that it involved a beach, a bonfire and plenty of beer. A little after midnight on Friday, I left Alice and Jason on the beach to walk back to the house.

The house that Alice and Mark share is at the end of Hospital Lane. The closest house to it is at quite a distance, and the woods surround it. That night, still and quiet as it was, was quite beautiful, if a mite eerie to someone who has lived in a city for nearly ten years. Just past the last house, a movement on the left hand side of the road caught my eye.
There was a suggestion of a large shape in the darkness. Taking pictures using a flash revealed an eye in the darkness......and then two eyes.
In fact, there were two sets of eyes. In the poor light and my somewhat sozzled state, it took me a few moments to figure out just what was I was seeing: a cow moose...
... and its calf were browsing at the edge of the road!I wasn't quite sure of what the safe way to deal with them was, so I settled on trying to take a good picture of them with my digital camera while talking to the cow moose in a low voice.
Actually, I was just talking, and I doubt either moose was really appreciating that I didn't mean them any particular harm. However, the fact that they continued to nibble at the foliage suggested that they weren't terribly concerned by my presence.I managed to get fairly close to the mooses, bearing in mind that these photographs were taken using a 3x zoom.
The thing was, that while I didn't want to disturb them, they were in between myself and my bed. As the latter was calling, I moved slowly along the road, while politely trying to explain the the situation to the cow moose.
To be honest, I am not sure I would have felt quite comfortable if the mooses had stayed in one spot, and let me sidle past. Cow mooses can be quite protective of their young, and both of them outweighed me by a long shot. Consequently, it was probably a good thing that as I approached them, they moved down the road. For one thing, it brought them under a streetlight that allowed me to get a number of shots of them in without using the flash. This is probably the best of them.
As we arrived in Alice's and Mark's parking lot, the moose slipped into the shadows and disappeared.

The whole thing happened in an eerie quiet broken only by my speech and camera shutter sound. There was a decidedly dream-like quality to the event. I know it wasn't a dream as the pictures prove, but it had wonderfully cozy and dreamy feel to it. The fact that I had been dozing near the bonfire and was alcohol positive probably had something to do with it. Nonetheless, I now feel that the moose is my totem animal.

The fact that I am big and ungainly has only a little to do with it. ;-)

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