07 December 2013

Late Night Adventures

Does the fact that I'm describing something that happened at quarter to 7pm as "late night" declare me to be clearly a parent, or just old?

Little Bear and I bundled up this evening after dinner and headed out on a quest for very important random items like lettuce and soap and jello. We barely made it out to the driveway before we were running, slipping, sliding back to the door. "Matt, come quick! The Northern Lights are out!"

I don't think we saw them more than once last winter, and it's certainly been a long time since it's been warm enough to stand outside craning our necks to watch the brilliant green ribbons dancing across the sky. Little Bear could not figure out what we were so excited about, and sat stolidly on my hip holding his Bob the Builder book, refusing to look up where we were pointing. The aurora weaved back and forth above us, brightening in one spot, dimming in another, separating into icicle-like shards and merging together again. It was so pretty! They say that if you're far enough from everything, with nothing to break the silence, you can hear the aurora "sing." Maybe some day.

As our noses got cold and the lights danced away, Matt headed back inside while Little Bear and I ran to the store. It was an unexciting trip, which is always good, although I stayed in 4WD most of the way because this morning was 32 degrees and the roads had become icy again. This is October weather, early October. The air temperature is pleasant, but it's so weird, and we'd all rather have colder weather than icy roads.

To make up for the uneventful trip, I found some tracks preserved by the other night's freezing rain as I was plugging the car in when we got home:

Those are moose prints. Very large moose prints. And they are a foot away from our front bumper. (My print and the neighbors' dog's print labeled for size comparison.) I am hoping that the print on the right is from the moose slipping and skewing the print, because I have never in my life seen that large of a moose print.

Seeing them was a very needed reminder that, yes, we live in a suburban area, but the river is a few blocks one way and the ridge is a few blocks the other, and we do get moose here. I'll sure be making more of an effort to look carefully, talk loudly and clomp my way between the house and the car, especially when it's dark out, to try to keep from surprising any moose in the yard. They are huge, and even though they're herbivores they are dangerous animals. The ones that hang around town aren't afraid of humans, and won't hesitate to charge if they get annoyed or startled--cows with calves are particularly bad, and I saw some smaller moose prints farther down the driveway. We will be being careful until we are sure they've left the neighborhood!

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