One year later

Moose garden

This popped up on my phone today – one year ago we had just moved into the acreage. The hubs was in the yard cleaning up his little fishing boat to get it ready for winter and he looked up to see this fellow wandering across the driveway. “Bullwinkle” was to be a semi-regular visitor.

He first appeared in our garden when we were new to the neighbourhood and still caught up with romance of the idea of living out of town. We were excited to have ample space for the boys to play and wandered our newly-acquired acres dreaming of tree-forts and rope swings in years to come.

We caught glimpses of the moose gliding through the trees on his impossibly long legs as we prepared our first, and as it turned out only, house party.

He left his unmistakable imprint in the snow in the midst of winter when we struggled with isolation, sickness and worry about living too far from our parents.

He appeared again with a friend in early spring, just as we made the decision to endure a second renovation and house move a mere six months after moving to the acreage.

Whenever he arrived, we corralled the dogs in the house and watched through the windows as the huge creature  made his way slowly, serenely through our garden. He was everything that was wonderful, and everything that was worrying about living out of town: a majestic enigma, unimaginably powerful and dangerously unpredictable. He always appeared without warning, a dark spectre staying for hours or minutes and then disappearing into the cover of the bush from whence he had come.

Over the summer, while we renovated and moved into our new home, we could often hear him through the leafy foliage and catch whiffs of his unmistakable salty breath. When we handed over the keys and bid our country home adieu, we warned the new owners to be watchful for our friend, the curious ungulate who occasionally came to say hello.

Like so many things about living away from the city, we will miss the idea of him more than the reality. He was a novelty, a remarkable sight, but one whose presence necessitated caution and more work, worry and inconvenience than we could have planned for.

The new house is in the centre of the city, but it overlooks the river valley, a vibrant corridor of green that connects the Rocky Mountains to the prairies and beyond. There are mornings when I find coyote trails on our front lawn, evidence of deer and porcupine; we know there are even bobcat and cougar lurking somewhere under the shadows of the trees just beyond our front door. Here, the wild and the wonderful are close enough to enjoy, but not so far away from everything else as to be a concern. And that, we have learned in the past year, is the right balance for us.

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17 comments

  1. I am so glad you shared this post, not only is it beautifully written, but it speaks to me. We dreamed of the country life and 4 years ago we made it our reality. Only we are so far from friends and where the children go to school. We have just sold our country home and the dream. We are now building a new home on a small parcel of land close to the city. Sometimes the dream is better than the reality. #mummyandus

    1. Thanks MG!That’s so true! Sometime the dream should stay that way! But at least we now know it doesn’t work for us and are no longer thinking about the “what ifs”! I imagine it’s the same story for you!

  2. One of the things that we have enjoyed most about our move to the US has been our surroundings. We live in a relatively small town (compared to our home in the UK) and seeing chipmunks, groundhogs, rabbits and squirrels play in the garden and run from the occasional hawk and coyote, has been an unexpected bonus!

  3. Ha! This is wonderful! Do you know Tamara from TamaraCameraBlog? She loves Moose, she would love to see yours. All the wildlife around you is cool. I grew up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods and wildlife, but not quite this much, or this big! Love it!

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