My bare toes skimmed across the grass in search of my next victim. I saw it, in the distance, a small black shape sunning on a large flat rock. I crept closer, my feet instinctively placed down on the softest moss and springy grass that would cover my tracks. He doesn’t notice me, my prey, as his four paws stroke the sunny air in lazy comfort. His tail twitched . . . and I stopped. I held still, not moving, barely breathing, as I pretended to be nothing more than another gnarled tree standing in the woods. Omen, his name was Omen because of his jet black fur, flopped away from my direction. His small body lifted and fell in a contented sigh.
I slid closer. Two feet. An inch away. My hand descended. A shout erupted from my throat. "WOO."
Meeeoorrw! Omen jumped up from the flat rock, startled. His feline chest breathed hard as he glared at me. Then he relaxed. A pink tongue dangled from his mouth as he preceded to lay down his fluffed fur. His back arched . . . his mouth released a long cat yawn . . . his four paws sprung forward with claws flicked open.
He grabbed into my leg and started to climb this naughty tree that had deliberately scared him. I deserved every prick along my skin for the prank. I grinned and beared it.
This was my pastime during the summer days of my youth. I would stand still, quieter than any mouse, as the wildlife would flutter or buzz or hop around me. I practiced my stealth movements on the cats, until I got tired of their retaliation. Then I moved onto my border collie, who just rolled onto his side, lifted his tail at me, uttered a breeze from the wrong end, and growled as if saying, "Yeah, go ahead, blame THAT on the dog." In time I moved onto other creatures. Undomesticated creatures. My best memories involved a deer, and something else quite unexpected.
First up . . . the deer.
She stood in the front yard, grazing. I came around the detached garage and spotted her. I went into prank mode. I was so close to her when she suddenly looked up and spotted me.
She calmly walked forward. I was stunned.
This wild animal strolled right up to me and uttered a low deer grunt (don’t ask me to describe the sound, for years I thought deer were mutes.) She sniffed at my hair, then became startled by the sound in the tall bushes near us.
A fawn came trotting out of the shrubbery. He was the doe’s real infant, Bambi perhaps, as she took another glance at me (the imposter) and bounded away with her child following.
A great moment for me . . . as I felt like one with the wildlife. Unfortunately, reality has a way of reminding you why these creatures are called wildlife.
I saw the small reddish-brown shape in the grass. It chewed on a maple tree seed (you might have seen one - a green seed encased in a brown wrapper with a flared tail that fall spinning from the trees like little helicopter propellers.) The creature had two black stripes going down its back and a small triangular tail. I wanted to have a better look at it. So I strolled up with eerie quietness and snatched the animal right out the grass.
A chipmunk. A pissed-off chipmunk glared at me wanting to know why I had interrupted its lunch. A chipmunk who wanted out of my grasp as it squirmed in my grip and opened its mouth.
Before I could wonder whether the chipmunk’s name was Chip or Dale, the little booger bit down into the fleshy part of skin in-between my thumb and finger. I yelped and dropped the chipmunk. It scurried toward the nearest tree and disappeared among the branches.
After I checked for damage, I made my way into the house. I had dealt with enough wildlife for one day.