Heard some blood-curdling screams the other night. I am often awakened by bizarre noises in the woods nearby, and in my semi-conscious state I promise myself that I will remember exactly what they sound like, so I can reproduce them for knowledgeable locals who can identify their source. I never do remember the noises precisely, and so am left to imagine that we live in the vicinity of ghouls and catamounts.
I ran into the neighbor whose house is at the bottom of our field a couple of days after I heard the screams, and he said that he had heard them too. We both agreed that they didn\’t sound like coyote communications. Then he told me that a brown bear had climbed onto his porch recently and upset his can of birdseed. And that a moose had wandered past his window.
I have been alternately cursing myself for missing these critters, and congratulating myself for living in a place where bears, moose, and the anonymous night shrieker–not to mention porcupines–amble so casually. I\’ve become blase about the does and fawns grazing on the lawn, or the turkey hens leading tiny poults single file down the driveway. But a bear\’s presence still thrills me. I\’ve only seen one once, about four years ago, dismantling our bird feeder about four feet from the house.
As for moose, I\’ve never seen one in the wild, much less on our land. But I\’ll never forget the one in the opening credits of Northern Exposure. That show, to which I was addicted in the 1990s, made me dream of living in a small village in the frozen north, where people know each other by name and moose wander the streets.
And now I do.