On our routine walk the dog the other night, David and I stepped beneath some of my favorite neighborhood lights, through the gate, and onto the field at the school down the street. As soon as we were through the gate though, we realized something big was moving to our right. As our eyes adjusted to the lighting in that wide open space – school lights and streetlights at the perimeter of the field – we saw a skittish young moose in motion. We quickly turned, backtracking the way we’d come – through the gate and then behind a nearby tree. From there we watched as the moose – apparently spooked by some guy and his dog, who we realized were also in the field – came trotting through the gate and then stopped to look around. Thankfully, our old yellow dog is not interested in moose and did not say anything to antagonize it from her spot beside the tree. The moose turned away from us to the house across the street and kept moving, into the backyard. With the moose now safely out of sight, we turned to speak to the guy and his dog who were also standing very still, nearby. He pointed out the mama moose across the field, bedded down near the school building. We then continued on our walk, back beneath my favorite lights, through the gate, and across the field toward home.
And so marks a new season. The moose leave our neighborhood during the summer, but return every fall. It is always an expected surprise to encounter the first fall moose and from here on out, it’s heads up! Being careful not to antagonize or step into the path of a skittish moose is usually not too hard (and super scary when that fails), but it’s extra challenging to walk safely in this dark time of the year when we don’t yet have snow on the ground to reflect light. Light or no light, no matter how well I know they walk among us, it always startles me look up and see a great big wild creature meandering down the sidewalk, through a backyard, across the street. Regular and random. It’s so…..Alaska.
We saw the little guy chomping on a hedge in someone’s yard last night and then this afternoon the pair of them spent time grazing in our neighbors’ yards.