The chicken is the only animal that seems not to have crossed the road out here.
One cold and snowy December night, as Joel and I negotiated our way down a slippery, sloping road, a bear suddenly darted out of a neighbor’s yard on the left, crossed the street in front of our car and jumped over the fence surrounding another neighbor’s property. We were somewhat shocked, but frankly excited, to have our first up-close encounter of the bear kind. We also marveled at the bear’s agility at clearing the post-and-rail fence.
Not ten seconds later, a deer ran from the same yard and leapt over the very same fence. We were thrilled at the deer’s grace, but wondered what could have caused both animals to run like that. And, why would the deer head in the same direction as the bear? Had the lion and the lamb really come to lie down together?
Months later Joel and I headed out to dinner around dusk. As we turned onto the main road toward town, a bobcat crossed in front of us. We disagreed as to the kind of cat it was, he believing that it was just a house cat, and I asking when he had ever seen a house cat the size of a Springer Spaniel. Our next-door neighbor confirmed the sighting when she found the bobcat sunning himself in her driveway.
Other neighbors have reported seeing bear and moose on our property.
Then, a flock of turkeys convened a rather lengthy meeting in the driveway, causing me to be late for an appointment while I waited for them to adjourn.
And, ust last weekend, as I was driving to visit old friends, a deer darted from the woods and crossed not 20 feet in front of my car. She did not look both ways before she crossed.
Now, having grown up in the Berkshires, I am well aware that much of it is country, but I don’t recall ever seeing a single deer (or bear or coyote or fox or moose or wild turkey) as a kid. My dad did find a huge snapping turtle once, and my cousin Wilma collected snakes, but that is just about the extent of the wildlife I encountered. Some experts say that, with so much development, there is less forest area for the animals, but still others say that Massachusetts has more forested land now than at the time of the Revolutionary War.
So, why are many animals now cross into my yard? Could it be the wild apples growing here? The great view? Or, perhaps the cows pasturing up the road that attract them?
Hmm … perhaps they cross here to get to the udder side?