Saturday, August 25, 2007

Moose in the Brook

Young NH bull moose © Bill Gnade 2007

Yesterday my eldest son Henry and I were driving home at dusk on the back way from my friend Judy's house. A woman in her car had slowed by the swampy, more open part of the river. She motioned to us. There was a young moose taking a long drink by the river's edge nearest the road. We quietly stopped the car and watched him and as he didn't seem bothered by our presence, we got out of the car, being mindful not to make too much noise. After watching him for several minutes I got my cell phone (handy at times!) and realized I could call Judy without having to drive back for her. "Bring your camera!" I said, regretting that I did not have mine.

After Judy pulled up, just behind her was Bill Gnade, a professional photographer from the area who I have known for many years, since Barrett House days (and he photographed my brother Bob and sister-in-law Becky's wedding several years ago). Perfect timing! He soon had assembled his long zoom lens and camera with ease. We waved hello and I asked later if he could e-mail me a photograph. As it happens, Bill had noticed some young moose tracks throughout the week along the roadside and decided to come back to see if he could spot him. He was able to trek down nearer to the moose, by the water, and Judy and Henry followed. More cars arrived to stop and see what was going on.

The warm toned late summer light filtered through the swamp from the west and illuminated the scene with vibrant color. Bill's photograph captures the color and light that I experienced (with apologies for the clip of the ear on his photo--I need to figure out how to get my wide border back in the blog template for photos!).

I have had two prior moose sightings but nothing this exciting: one brief glimpse of a large bull with a rack in the Canadian Rockies on a trip with my dad in 1984 and one in our town a few years ago when a moose cow stayed in a pasture for three days, undisturbed by the throngs of cars and sheep around her. [A moose sighting is still rare enough around here for cars to stop. But they are certainly more common than they used to be.]

We must have watched the moose for twenty minutes. When he lept up into the taller grass, Bill said, "he's a young male" (I couldn't tell without a zoom) and "he's probably just left the nest or his mother has pushed him out." [A poignant moment as my daughter left today to begin her college odyssey.]

We are about to put our house on the market and will be going to Kentucky to set up a house there for part of the year while we transition our lives here and there. In many ways I don't want to think of ever leaving this house, but, like my daughter, I will never really leave home. I'll just plan to bring it with me and to come back occasionally, too. In whatever capacity that is, I will come back: whether by blog, or visit, or dreams, or smaller house, or rental. “Home” is a place you can carry in your heart, wherever you may be. I admired the moose in his river home--young and solitary and ambling, stopping to drink and graze now and then, moving along when he was ready.

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