Tagleaves

Playing games in the trees

A story.

My car started having problems. Not the shiny new used one, the one we haven’t even taken possession of yet. No, this is the one that has been the good one, up until this week, the one with only 218,000 miles on it. (A side note: I hate cars. I hate being dependent upon them. A future full of bikes and trails, even full of carriages, would be fine with me, but that is not the life I live currently.)

Anyway, the good car suddenly started having electrical blips, which turned into full car blips, which led to us all sitting on the side of the road this afternoon. This has become a disconcertingly familiar state for us lately. I was happy to be able to reach a pull off, happy to be in a cell phone friendly spot, happy to have my dad available to pick us up. All in all, not a bad breakdown.

One little glitch? My dad could only take two passengers, so I hung out in the woods for a while by myself. Again, not a bad thing to do. Crunchy fall leaves, shifting clouds, an old oak crumbling into soil. Fresh air, which I sorely need.

After a bit, I walked back toward the road and sat on a rock. I was close enough to watch for my ride, far enough not to feel like I was sitting on the side of the highway. A guy stopped and wandered off down the trail I was sitting by. I waved, he waved, the sound of him trailed off through the leaves.

The traffic kept going by. A truck, and then something through the trees, big like a truck, only in the wrong place. I was thinking truck? Then someone else in the woods? Running maybe, through the trees? Then, as my brain caught up with my eyes and ears, oh yeah, big, BIG moose. Running. Toward me.

It’s not really rutting season at this point, but that’s what I think about when I see a large moose with monster antlers running toward me. Rutting season, for those unfamiliar, is the time of year when bull moose become irritable. Really irritable. All they want are receptive female moose, and everything else gives them the equivalent of road rage.

I was off my rock in about the time it took for big BIG moose to sink in. With extraordinary grace, I leaped behind a sufficiently large tree, checking out the deadfall next to it to think about how much it might slow down a grumpy moose. I looked out around the corner as the moose came to a sliding halt. He looked at me, I looked at him, he spun around and ran off again. His legs below his hocks were much lighter than above, and they startled me as he vanished among the trees.

I glanced back down the trail. Hiking guy had paused there. With the crashing sounds and leafy crumples that accompany a running moose playing as soundtrack, we embarked on a game of charades. I pointed at the moose’s trajectory. He raised his shoulders. I stuck my pointer fingers up along either side of my head. He held his thumbs to his head and spread his fingers out wide. I gave him a thumbs up.

My sincere hope is that he got moose from all that. I suppose he could have been thinking coatrack, or, perhaps, explosion. I’ll never know. He ambled off along the trail, my ride arrived, and we all went on our separate ways.

This time of year

Yesterday. 5:30 pm. Running.

Leaves have broken out everywhere, pale green and quarter-sized at this point. The rain this week has brought out the Red Efts, and they parade across the trail, requiring the occasional arabesque from runners with large clumsy feet.

Down by the water the loons calling. If you’ve never heard a loon before, go here. Listen. Now imagine being on the edge of a long narrow lake. There are islands in the lake, but tonight the fog’s moved in, and you can’t see far. All you can see is the shore, and the pale stones beneath the water. From somewhere in the fog comes first one loon’s voice, then another.

Back on the trail, there is no fog. There has been rain though, so the birds are quiet. Not so a porcupine, whining somewhere just off the trail along a stretch of trees brought down by the October snowstorm. A grouse is drumming too, more than one, from alternating sides of the trail.

Further, and a coyote joins the trail ahead, loping along for a short stretch before disappearing off to the side. It’s probably still there as I go by, but I can’t see it. The only way to truly see everything around me would be to stop and sit, and I’m too busy for that.

One last quick look at the lake before heading home. A little less fog here, and the closest island is a palette of greens, the pines so much darker than everything else this time of year. I turn back down the trail, passing everything again, and thinking this is why I live here.

© 2020 Cosmic Driftwood

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑