Yesterday, Liam and I went for a late afternoon walk. The January dusk was not far away, and the woods were full of shadows. Not good for taking pictures, but moody and mysterious. Because of all the rain, much of the snow was gone, and the brown leaves and needles were slippery underfoot. I was glad I had my trekking pole, especially when I went down the steep hill leading to the water.
The dog and I made it without incident to the Lower Narrows. The dog sniffed, and I took pictures, even though the light was not good. Perhaps it was all the melting and thawing, but the Narrows was especially vocal yesterday. It gurgled, it blubbed, it cracked. One crack was so loud and thunderous that Liam jumped, ran a little ways into the woods, and barked.
I jumped, too, and then smiled, thinking about how our ancient ancestors might have thought there was a spirit making all those sounds, the spirit of the water. From there it was only a short jump to thinking about the great animator Hayao Miyazaki and his wonderful films that thrum with nature spirits—Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, to name a couple. Perhaps the spirit of the Narrows was trying to break free from the icy grip of winter?
On the dog and I went, to a little cove that was hard and frozen. The light wasn’t too bad here, and I took more pictures. As we turned to go home, I saw a dark shape moving through the clearing. “A dog,” I thought, as Liam bounded toward it.
This thought was immediately followed by, “Not a dog. A porcupine!”
“Liam!” I called frantically. “Come here, come here, come here!”
Visions of a muzzle full of porcupine quills raced through my head, and as I called, I waited for the sound of an anguished yelp as Liam got nailed. But the yelp never came. Liam bounded back to me, the porcupine hustled into the woods, and I put the leash on Liam.
As soon as my heart stopped pounding, I thought, “Darn! I wish I could have gotten a picture of that porcupine.”
Well, you can’t have everything, and I was grateful Liam came when he was called. “You saved yourself a lot of hurt,” I said to the dog as we made our way home.
Liam made no reply, and when we far enough away from the porcupine for me to feel that it was safe, I let Liam off his leash. We returned home without further incidence, and I settled on the couch with a cup of tea and a snack of graham crackers with jam. As I sipped tea and ate, I reflected on our two scares in the woods. Beside me on the couch, the dog begged for bits of graham cracker and jam.
When we go for our walk today, I will be sure to avoid the area where we saw the porcupine.