Have I ever told you that my dog Molly won’t go outside by herself? She won’t step off the porch unless someone is with her, encouraging her that all is safe. It’s kind of a new phobia that has been developing since we moved here. Basically she is a big wuss and she is frightened of everything.
Well, picture this. In order to ensure she does “her thing”, I have to go outside with her. If I’m lazy I will just walk her back onto our property to a spot where she will relieve herself. She sniffs around and listens to the night air while I wait patiently. If I’m lucky she is quick with her business and we head back inside. My usual method is to grab her leash and take her for a short walk down the road. I do this first thing every morning and last thing every night, regardless of the weather. In extreme cold, severe winds, and driving rain we are out there with the flashlight… waiting. How pathetic is that? Warren thinks I have helped create this situation. I have passed my fears along to the dog. Maybe this is true.
I’m a tad skittish when we are on our own; when Molly and I have walked back from the road and are out of sight from any civilization. Sometimes I’m conscience that if I screamed no one would hear. Last month we were hiking around a forested area and found a deserted campground. It wasn’t long before I had creepy thoughts of a Jack Nicholson “Shining” type character stalking me through the picnic tables. Soon after we left the gloomy wooded area and headed into the open fields. It felt safer.
During our day-light walks I enjoy the glittery snow and the sound of chickadees in the pines. Neighbours on both sides of our house have made me trails; one using his tractor and the other neighbour stomped a path with snow shoes. I look for signs of life. There are all sorts of animal tracks: beavers, otters, and squirrels. Some leave behind deep clean foot prints in the snow. They must have long legs, possibly a wolf or coyote.
A few days ago we stopped to watch a poor skinny wild animal running beside the road. It had very little fur. We think it may have been a fox with mange. Maybe it is a small coyote.
It is after dark that my attitude towards nature and wild life changes. There are no street lights around here, only stars and my trusted flash light. It is very black. The wind rattles tree branches and bumps loose barn boards. I’m more aware of the smell of livestock and hay coming from my neighbour barn. A dog barks a long way off. Molly’s hair stands up. She points her nose into the air and stares off into the empty fields. She knows there is something out there, watching us.