We moved from the suburbs of a large city to a Winnie the Pooh Hundred Acre Wood. This was six miles down a dirt road and through a creek from the nearest small town. Our love of nature led us into wildlife encounters of the curious, scary, humorous, sad, and blessed kinds. Part One is about the curious and unusual.
One of my first encounters was with a rather large possum who scratched noisily on my screen door. When I went to check out the noise, it stopped scratching, but stayed there staring at me. I stared back. It continued staring. I continued to stare back. Finally, it made what sounded like a disgusted grunt and waddled slowly back into the woods. I never knew if it was panhandling or what. We didn’t have bird feeders or an outside dog then, so I don’t know why it would expect food. But it never came back, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness.
An even more curious experience happened a few years later on a freezing February night. We had returned from out of town late that day and were now snuggled warmly in our bed watching a scary movie. Suddenly there was a tap, tap, tapping on the window next to us. We both froze and stared in horror at the curtained window. The tapping continued, so I followed my husband to the door nearest the window. As he stepped outside, he pointed in amazement and a Chickadee flew from the window ledge onto his hand. It stayed there a moment as we gaped in open mouthed astonishment. Then it flew to the nearest eave where it continued looking at us. We decided this must be one smart, hungry Chickadee, so we grabbed our coats and went to fill the empty feeders which were all the way on the other side of the house.
It still astonishes me, even freaks me out a little that something with, after all, just a birdbrain could be smart enough to know where we were, that we would respond to tapping, that it was safe to come that close, and that we were the ones that gave him food. Nature is an awesome mystery.
(Part Two is Wild Life Encounters: The Scary Kind)