It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… there’s freezing rain coming down, a sheer layer of ice on the driveway, and moderately-large forest animals walking around on our roads.
The moose are out, and when I say “out”, I mean absolutely everywhere.
Do you ever have those late night drives when you know that you're going to need a serious jolt to stay alert? You know, when twilight has faded and your heavy eyelids begin to droop? When the car feels warm and cozy, and somehow your otherwise uncomfortable driver’s seat has miraculously converted into a plush recliner with proper lumbar support? When you cover 10 miles of sharp S-turns only to notice that you can’t recall driving through them, much less how you avoided crashing through the side rail and careening off of a cliff into the river? Well, I’ve got just the thing to wake you up, and it’s totally natural – no pills, no super high-test coffee, no drugs - just pure, old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill adrenaline.
You see, moose don’t really appear as concrete objects when they go strolling across the pavement at 8 o’clock on a moonless night. They seem to be more the absence of something, like a large dark hole in the fabric of the world. On rare occasions, you might be fortunate enough to glimpse your reflected headlights in a pair of big eyes, or spot a patch of lighter-colored fur on the back of a 6-foot calf, but the vast majority of sightings begin as a strange and blurry sci-fi wormhole hovering in the distance. It goes like this: you think you might see something in the hazy blob ahead and take a second to squint and clear up the image, then - WHAM - it’s a moose. The animal is unmistakable, and it's not because squinting enables you to see it more clearly (though it does seem to help when I forget my glasses at home), but is rather because in the three seconds it’s taken you to crane your neck forward like a kid in Driver’s Ed and scrunch up your face, you’ve traveled 200 feet and you’re suddenly a car’s length from what you now really wish was actually a hallucinogenic portal to 2nd century Egypt. And you’re adrenal glands are buzzing like sugar-laden elves on December 24th, because past experience tells you that these giant beasts don’t do the old "stare-and-run" act like other animals. Wiser animals.
Instead, they stare, and then they chew on a little of what they’ve been keeping in their 4th stomach. And then they stare some more.
No movement, whatsoever. That is, until you’ve sufficiently freaked out and are [probably] sideways in a ditch.
There is nothing going on in there. Look at those eyes.
I don’t know if this news is coming across as fun and intriguing, or if it’s making you too nervous to ever leave your house in southern California. Heck, those of you close enough might not even want to come visit after what you’ve read, but trust me - should conditions stay as they currently are – when you do come see us, you won’t need a third double espresso to stay awake, nor will you need to dump water on your face and roll the windows down. The anticipation of a close encounter is almost as good as the jolt of energy you get after you slam on the brakes for a family of half-ton pedestrians.
It’s really better than it sounds. We’ll see you soon, I’m sure of it.