Tuesday, January 31, 2017

terrified

"We went to the store where you just look at things," my granddaughter says casually, by way of making conversation. "And they have animals there that are like statues."
"Oh," I muse,  a light dawning. "Cabala's. Yes, they have many animals don't they?"
She nods soberly. "One was looking at me Gramma and I was terrified." I hug her a little tighter. "It had hair all over," she says. "And I didn't know what it was," she adds, her eyes wide.
"Goodness," I exclaim. "Was it a bear?"
"Gramma," she says, "I know what a bear is."
"Oh, yes, yes of course," I murmur, "Was it a cougar?"
"I don't know what a cougar looks like," she admits.
I describe one but she looks skeptical.
"Was it a raccoon," I ask hopefully.
"It was big Gramma," she exclaims.
Off we go to consult Google but nothing seems to fit.
I am left pondering a strange and hairy creature with wild eyes.
It has made me remember a mystery creature I once looked at with my own wild eyes.
Fortunately, it never saw me.
I was fifteen I think.
I had hiked up Mt. Cook near Blue River.
Up into the mountain alpine country.
A morning trek alone brought me down to the edge of a small lake. As I stood gazing out over the water I heard the strangest sound. It was almost a jingle. A tinkle of claws on rock and a growl repeated like a chant.
And there it was.
My mystery creature.
I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at.
The creature looked fiercely to the left and right before quickly lapping water. Then It turned and trotted stiffly off.
It hadn't seen me, shielded as I was by a bush.
When I rushed breathless and wide eyed to the cabin, my cousin listened to my description with an incredulous look.
"It must have been a bobcat," she said.
"But it had a tail," I cried.
She gave me that look.
You know the one.
Years, and years later, in a museum display that included taxidermy I spied my mystery creature.
It was a Wolverine. 
Do you think it was too late to be terrified?

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