Moose Tracks

Last Friday, a moose found its way to a street in our neighborhood, a few blocks from our house. It was clearly lost, an adolescent with only the beginnings of antlers, wandering past Colonials and Capes, trying to find its way back home.

(If you can’t see the embedded video, click here to see it on YouTube. Video by A. Stephenson, 10-2-15.)

I missed all the excitement, but apparently the moose caused quite a stir, galumphing across busy streets, passing near the campus of Worcester Polytech, and eventually disappearing somewhere into the woods. Police and animal protection services followed it all day without capturing it. The moose got away, but not before it made the evening news in Boston.

Friends were talking about it over the weekend, sharing a video of the wayward moose on YouTube. People interviewed on the TV report smiled with excitement at the idea of seeing a moose strolling through the city. For a brief moment, we all forgot our adult worries and cares. Just the notion of a moose on the loose—harmless enough as long as it didn’t cause any property damage or car accidents—turned us all into little kids.

Somehow this seemed a fitting end to a week that began with a lunar eclipse. Viewing conditions were perfect here the previous Sunday, as we stood outside with friends and watched the moon transition from a brilliant spotlight in the dark night sky to a copper penny. As we gazed skyward, we sang Moon River and Shine on Harvest Moon and Moon Over Miami—every moon song we could remember.

A sense of wonder is a powerful antidote to all the sad, bad, upsetting news in the world. There is always more than enough to worry about—another school shooting, extreme weather, wars, disfunctional politics—and, closer to home, the day-to-day pressures of work and challenges of managing my health.

Then there is the big annual adjustment to fall. Cold, rainy weather this past week dampened my mood. Back to sweaters and leg warmers and layers, wool coats and hats. I turned on the heat pumps for the first time in months and made oatmeal for breakfast. I tried not to think about the winter ahead.

So it was refreshing, once the rain finally ended, to go out for a walk and retrace part of the path that the moose had followed, which is along my normal route. No signs of the recent visitor, but the maples are beginning to turn the color of a lunar eclipse. Acorns and small red crabapples carpet the sidewalks and streets. I noticed a squirrel digging in a flowerpot on a porch, as a dog inside barked madly. It made me laugh. I’m not sure why. Something about the innocence of it all—squirrel taunts dog, dog gets upset, squirrel ignores it and keep doing its thing.

A moose wanders down a quiet city street, looking for home. No one shoots it, except with a video camera. No one captures it. It dodges traffic and disappears into the woods, without a trace.

I wish I’d been there to see it pass by.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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