My mother was a sturdy person, both emotionally and physically. She was no stranger to the natural world: In fact, she bravely welcomed the excitement that wildlife brought to our lives. She was entranced when we spotted a moose in New Brunswick, or when we saw an Osprey at the ocean. So imagine our surprise when a mouse completely undid her composure.
My younger sister had a collection of white mice caged in her room and one day when the cage was being cleaned, the mice escaped. Over the next few months our house held an expanding population of multiracial mice. We’d see them now and then, and worried about their ever-growing numbers. Everything came to head one evening when my mother was cooking dinner and a mouse ran up her pant leg! My mother started shrieking and leapt onto a chair. She finally gained enough sense to stop the hopping and instead stripped off her pants to release the mouse. Seeing our mother on top of chair in her undies, my sisters and I ended up laughing and crying at the same time!
Fast forward about 35 years. My daughter Lily was practicing violin in the living room when WHOMP, a flying squirrel landed on her shoulder. Everything became eerily silent as Lily stopped mid-note and just stood there, stunned. I heard her father yell, “Oh, my God!” and then pandemonium ensued as the squirrel leapt off of Lily, she started wailing, and the dogs chased after the squirrel. Lily’s teacher said that she had heard the whole gamut of reasons for not practicing, but Lily’s took the prize.
As much as I love those memories, I think the wildlife story that still touches my heart the most occurred during a family reunion in Maine. We were all sitting on a lovely cove beach–in fact, it was the beach filmed in the movie “The Cider House Rules.” The cove was beautiful and we spent the day playing Frisbee, braving the cold Maine waters, and lying in the sun. After a while we decided to have lunch, which we had made and packed in the morning.
Suddenly, out of the blue, a seagull dive-bombed our group. Its beak was open and aimed at the sandwich my then 9-year old daughter Lily had in her hands, mid-lift to her mouth. The seemingly massive seagull snatched the sandwich out of Lily’s hands and hurtled itself up and away into the air. Our jaws were hanging open, hardly grasping what had happened, when Lily’s expression crumpled and tears started rolling down her face. She bemoaned the situation saying, “But I wanted that!”
Ahhh, the joys of nature…..
Now that I’ve exposed intimate moments from my family’s memories of wildlife encounters, please share yours! I’d love to hear about your adventures. Please take a moment to add a comment below.