There’s a slit of morning colour simmering along the hills to the East. The watch face stares back with the numbers 4:45.
Motion sensor lights around the deck go out. The gravel crunches under tires, windows rolled down, welcoming morning sounds at the slough in the foothills, a favourite destination.
A silhouette raises its head from beneath the water. Daylight pushing over the treetops dance on rivulets of water falling from the bull moose’s antlers.
And a little bit more
It wasn’t uncommon for a few of us to ride the trails at night, in the moonlight, on horseback. We were surrounded by small lakes, wild hay meadows, sloughs and trees. There was no fear in heading out on these night excursions, we had traveled the country over and over again in the daylight and nightlight. We played tag on horseback in the meadows; rode in silence listening to the sounds of the wind in the trees and the coyotes howling.
On this particular night, there were four of us riding along an old road that wound along a little lake. We had the advantage of being downwind from the clearing and the splashing coming from the lake. Meaning whatever was in the water, couldn’t smell us, but our horses could smell it and gave us away, snorting and blowing. What a sight we saw in the light of the full moon. A huge bull moose, feeding on greenery below the waterline, had lifted his head. The water sparkled off of his antlers, dripping to the lake’s surface in the moonlight.
In later years, several of my gravel travel outings gifted me with moose sightings. I knew where they might be, but never intentionally went looking for them. The element of surprise in seeing one as I drive down a dirt road, or when I happen to be parked on the roadside, reading or writing, is a great feeling.
Good friends of ours have moose sightings all of the time. This is where I started getting up before sunrise to drive the local gravel roads with my camera and journal. I’d capture the sun rising, the morning unfolding, write, read, and often as not just sit with the windows down listening. Occasionally deer and moose have been part of those early morning outings.
I have been lucky enough to be in on some of the moose sightings on the property around our friend’s home. Seeing them go from one pasture to another, clearing fences like they weren’t there. Watching them feed on willows along the creek below their house, sauntering along the tree line or up the road to the barn, like they own the place.
Moose…Cows, calfs, and bulls, I have seen them all. Some have been within fifty feet of my cameral lens, and some a half a mile away, or more. It is always a privilege to watch these majestic animals