May 20, 2018

Wildlife is cool, but it can be scary too

It costs a bit more, in the long run, to live on the outskirts of a city or town. One drilled water well problem or a septic system replacement wipes out any municipal property tax savings. Fuel for commuting alone, never mind the time burned during each jaunt in and out, takes a big bite out of the rural life fantasy.

But after a while, you find out what makes living out here worthwhile. It comes with a connection to furry and feathered friends that share your space with you. My neighbour has the same pair of ducks return to his pond each spring. A chipmunk I know around my hacienda is like a part of the family.

And once in a while, I think I recognize a rabbit from the season before and even her babies seem to inherit the knowledge they're safe around here.

Every morning possible, I take a stroll up and down my driveway to stretch my legs and listen to the various birds chatter and sing. Just the other day, moose tracks went right down the middle where a small doe had left tracks of her own a few nights prior.

It's not always so peaceful. I have photos and video of a fox eating one of my jack rabbits. The coyotes put a big scare into my old dog Max one time. He was put down a couple years ago due to old age stuff, but he lived a few years longer by learning not to get lured into the field by that sassy little yote.

One night, I was sitting alone by a fire out back, big old Max had retired to the coolness of my basement. And the ungodly screaming sounded from the middle of blackness. It was like a high-pitched crying and yelling at the same time, almost human-like, yet not of this world. Whatever it was, it slowly walked by me about 30 feet into the thickets and brush, and the crying-screaming kept going for another 90 feet past me as the creature angled northwest. My skin crawled and the neck hair stood on end. I had never heard a lynx in the wild before, although I remembered it being described in a wilderness novel from way back when I was a kid. Might have even been a Jack London story, one of my favourite authors.

There was a video shared on Facebook recently of two male lynx trying to intimidate each other as mating season gives them a sense of urgency. You can find it on my timeline near the top as it was posted May 20.

Tell me that sound doesn't make your skin crawl. Imagine sitting in the dark by yourself at a fire and having one stroll by at the top of his "leave me the hell alone" voice. Shiver me timbers just writing this story.


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