Now I know that where I live isn't the edge of the world, but you can see it from here. After last night, I'm truly beginning to wonder about that. I think we may be closer to the edge of the world than I thought.
Just a few miles away from where I live there is an area called the Black Swamp. It's kind of a spooky area, heavily wooded on the edges, full of cat tails and sloughs. It's rumored that strange things have come out of there at times, but mostly I think those reports come from guys who have been out road-tripping late at night after helping to close down The Watering Hole.
Now I do know that it is home to wildlife that you wouldn't expect to live in such a populated area. Several years ago when Ole was topping sugar beets for Farmer Neighbor Dave, he was working during the wee hours of the night, cutting tops on a field that was located on the edge of the Black Swamp. Out of the night and the tall grass came a moose family - Big Daddy with very large antlers, Mama without antlers, and Baby Moose trotting along behind. Now moose are notorious for having very bad eye sight and definitely have an "attitude" that you don't want to tangle with. Fortunately, Ole was in the cab of a very large tractor because as the tractor was going down the row, Papa Moose decided that he was going to stop this invader, stood in front of it and challenged it. As the tractor came closer Papa Moose finally backed down, but that could have been a very scary moment.
We've also had a black bear wandering around the neighborhood lately. I haven't personally seen it, but a couple of farmers down the road have just within the last few weeks.
Last night was one of those nice crisp, clear nights here; a night to sleep with your windows open and snuggle down in your feather comforter with your kitties. Something woke me up about 4 o'clock this morning, a sound that didn't belong there, know what I mean? You get used to certain sounds at night and they don't wake you, but if something odd occurs, your subconscious jogs you awake. I heard something howling, then quiet and then it would howl again. It was a really spooky howl - long and erie.
At first I thought it was coming from the Sled Dog Man's house. One of our neighbors that lives about a half mile from us raises and trains Huskies. Anybody that's ever owned a Husky knows that they don't bark - they howl. We had one a number of years ago that would sit on the back deck at night, especially when the moon was full, and howl to the point where you thought his heart was breaking. But that's another story. The Sled Dog Man's dogs don't usually make much noise except at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. when he goes out to feed them. You can tell time by his schedule.
Anyway, I was able to determine that this howling was not coming from the direction where the Huskies live. It was coming from the opposite direction and was much closer. After this had gone on for awhile I got up to see if I could see anything in the backyard. After all, we live on the bank of a river and there's all kinds of wild life in our neighborhood. I looked out the patio door and although it was hard to see because the moon wasn't real bright, I noticed movement on the far corner of our property. Then whatever it was sat down again, pointed his head toward the sky and let go with another loud, lonesome howl calling to his buddies that within a few minutes answered back.
I have heard within the last couple of years that Minnesota Timber Wolves (no - not the basketball team, you sillies) have been spotted in the Black Swamp. I guess it's a good thing we keep Simon and Lucy in at night. I'm sure that kitties probably taste like chicken to timber wolves.