My cottage is my sanctuary. It's the quiet place I go when life is moving too fast. I also go for the nature. I love nature. And when I say nature, I mean chickadees and flowers and fluffy clouds. Nice nature.
I've seen foxes, hares and deer frolicking in my hostas, though not all at the same time. I have nesting sharpshin hawks in our white pine, chipmunks in the rock garden and a woodchuck in the wood pile. We even saw two baby moose galloping down the middle of the road. Sometimes the sheer number of birds, chipmunks and red squirrels milling about the feeder seem almost Disney-esque, especially when the chipmunks take peanuts out of our hands.
But then the neighbours talked of several bear sightings.
Last summer, I was alone and preoccupied making chicken wraps for a swim meet. I had about twenty pounds of warm, spicy chicken cooling on my deck when suddenly, I heard something crashing about in the woods. Whatever "it" was, it was rustling and moving bushes and was big enough to break branches underfoot. Not a deer, which are more sure-footed. Not something small, like a raccoon. Nothing Disney about this noise.
Dressed in a bright red sundress and armed with a three dollar plastic mosquito zapper, I ventured outside for a look. The thought did occur to me that this was like the part in any horror movie when the audience shouts "Look out behind you! Get back in the house!"
I tried not to make a sound on the gravel driveway and stopped beside the woodpile. I strained to hear or see the source of the rustling and held my breath. At that moment, the resident woodchuck popped out of the woodpile for his evening constitutional and - clearly not expecting a human, dressed in a red sundress and smelling of Italian chicken - he squeaked his annoyance and caused me to start so violently, that I came as close as I've ever come as an adult to filling my pants. I beetled back to the house, and left whatever was in the bushes to its business, and the woodchuck to his woodpile. My husband, of course, didn't believe me.
Later, I took this photo on the back step:
You tell me...