I have never really been bothered by the dark, except for being nervous of the possibility of a sudden run in with a skunk. As for encounters with the two legged persuasion, I've always been able to dismiss my fear by telling myself... what would anyone want with an old thing like me... even though I know that someone in that frame of mind is probably not going to be very picky.
Three winters ago, while cross country skiing on my own, I witnessed several hawks, at least seven, feasting on a deer carcass on a frozen pond. While in awe of the size and wing span of these birds and their majestic beauty as they soared above my head and swooped down to feed, I felt immense sadness for the fate of the deer, brought down by what I now believe were coyotes. The hawks were just helping them self to the leftovers...the way of the wild.
Picture found at at free-extras.com.
The death of singer/songwriter Taylor Mitchell in Oct. .2009 by two coyotes while hiking on Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and all the talk that followed caused me some concern but did not interrupt my routine, after all...that happened in Cape Breton, not my back yard...as long as I didn't allow my mind to wonder to the "what if's" I was fine.
But a recent conversation with an elderly uncle who just happens to be an avid hunter has opened my eyes. He was lamenting the fact that he didn't bag a deer this year due to what he believes is the increasing coyote population..."there are no deer or rabbits around this year he says." I too had been noticing the lack of deer or rabbit tracks in our neck of the woods, something always plentiful in the past...but there are plenty of other "dog like" tracks around.
... and then there are the daily accounts in the news of "run ins" with aggressive coyotes.
..so perhaps it is time to be afraid.. to be very afraid...
...they are here,
...and I am now afraid of walking alone in the dark.
...especially down over the hill which is bordered on each side by deep woods.
...but I have not given up my walks
...I am just better prepared.
I have always made it a habit of wearing a safety vest for visibility and carried a small flashlight to light my footpath, but I now carry a larger, brighter flashlight which I am constantly shinning into the edge of the woods, fields and orchard looking for any signs. I also carry a whistle to hopefully scare away any animals.
...and something I never thought I would ever do...
I'm packing a weapon
...just in case the whistle doesn't work!