Wildersmith February 18

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A couple weeks ago I talked of this being the month of the full “worm” moon. I have discovered that I was a month ahead of myself as this lunar handle should be applied to March.

I apologize for pushing things too fast and to the “man in the moon” for calling his February rendition wrongly. Since the February coming is really known as the full “snow” moon and will be in our midst tonight, it’s best to set the record straight.

Perhaps my snafu on this issue is a spiritual cause for the northland being neglected with snow for the second week in a row. Who knows why Old Man Winter keeps shipping the stuff south, but if I’m the curse of this issue, I hope that my coming forward will encourage His Coldness to finish up month two with a bang.

As I put this week’s news together, the temps have moderated considerably from where they were a week ago. Although our thermometers did not reach the 32 mark last Sunday, I did observe some minor oozing of liquid from my roof edge where the sun beams reached. This is an indicator of how powerful Sol is becoming, as the seasonal trek northward gains momentum.

This time of the year, ‘tis the season for several of Nature’s wild beings to become attracted to the opposite gender. The whiskey jacks that normally hang out here have disappeared, apparently to their nesting places, and wolves, fox, coyotes and several other species are taking to the mating game. So the month of hearts and chocolates extends well beyond what we humans have coined.

Another winter characteristic is showing a sign of the annual return. It’s the season for county road culverts to finally close up with hard water. This means that the liquid trickling from the innards of our warm earth has to go somewhere, so it spills out over our back country roads. The surfacing of such an ice damming project is taking place along our Mile O Pine. It’s always of interest to watch these mini-glaciers build up with each passing day, and it’s sometimes a challenge navigating them with one’s vehicle.

The Wildersmith two were privy to a predator/prey episode at its best last week.
Watching from the comfort of our dining room windows, we observed both plunder and terror during a wolf hunt and a deer chase through our yard.

To begin this account, a deer was casually browsing shrubs in the yard when a cousin came exploding from out of the forest to the east. Spooked by this turmoil, the perusing deer immediately joined in the flight, and the pair was out of view in a cloud of flying snow.

Not thinking much about it, I was suddenly called back to the window by my wife as she spotted a wolf coming into the yard. Mr. Wolf was as large as some of last spring’s fawns and year-old does, handsome and healthy! It moved about, sniffing here and there as it circumvented the yard, eventually heading back to the woods from which it had come.

In a matter of minutes, the deer returned and were back at pruning my bushes. It was soon after that this big warrior of the wilderness quietly reappeared.

Neither deer nor wolf spied each other for a few moments, but it didn’t take long for the wolf to spot its potential next meal. In cunning fashion, the stalk was on, and suddenly one of the two deer realized what was happening.

In a mad dash the deer headed east for about a half-dozen leaps, then changed its mind and doubled back to the west. The chase was on, and the other deer that had been browsing a short distance away saw itself in peril too. It also took flight as its cousin flew by. At this point, the race for life was in high gear, and as they disappeared from view, into the forest of my neighbor’s place, the wolf was barely 10 feet behind the flying hooves.

My subsequent investigation of the approximate chase path led into obscurity of many meandering deer paths with no sign of a kill close by. In the days following, I haven’t seen the usual gathering of ravens and eagles to share in the spoils after a successful hunt, so I’m guessing the deer won this race.

I can’t say with certainty, but I believe that the big hunter had a sly plan. In my mind, it was trying to bait those deer back to the yard, when it headed off into the woods following its initial appearance. It then decided to double back for a check of its hunting scheme and found that the strategy worked, because here they were. How shrewd it appears!

At this point, I’m still unsure of who I was hoping would succeed, the chased or the chaser, as life is so precious for both. Regardless, the experience of observing the stalk, the scramble and the pursuit for survival was a heart-pounding reality of daily life in the wild, one to be remembered forever.

Keep on hangin’ on and savor this heavenly place!

Airdate: February 18, 2011

Photo courtesy of Jon Large via Flickr.


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