Friday, July 25, 2008

When Animals Almost Attack

I do not live in the wilderness, though I suppose it can feel that way when visitors put on their wading boots to come visit us from the shining land of Oz we call the big city. But we do have a wooded neighborhood that is filled with animals at dawn, when I run through it.

On Tuesday morning I saw a deer in a bush so close I could have reached out and touched it (the deer). Why didn't I? After all, how often do you get to say, "I touched a deer this morning"? Well, I was afraid it would attack. Just a herbivore, you say? Ha! Have you seen a deer up close? Their heads are the size of dog's heads, with long lean snouts and mouthfuls of fangs and/or regular teeth. It could also (I reasoned to myself) spring from the bush and beat me with its head. Or stomp on my ears with its wicked little hooves. No thanks!

Yesterday morning things got even more exciting. I'm always delighted to see bats fluttering in the blue light of dawn, but yesterday one flapped so close I could hear its wings. It sounded like someone shuffling a deck of cards. Then it came back, looped around and came back again. This, quoth I, is not normal bat behavior. Had I become some sort of bat-magnet? Was I emitting bat pheromones? 'Cause it just smelled like sweaty running clothes to me but you never know what's going to activate mad bat lust. After all, perhaps my overwhelming attractiveness cannot be limited to just humanity.

Just as I was feeling pretty studly, it occurred to me that if the bat decided to clamp onto my face, hook its little prickly claws into my ears, and start chewing on my nose? I'm not sure I could stop it. And what if it squeaked a triumphant summons to its bat-friends, and they all fluttered around me like a cloud of dark butterflies and carried me away?

Running is such a calming, meditative time.

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