The local newspaper has reported for the last several days that there is a black bear in Frayser, a subdivision of Memphis. This is about the same as meeting an aardvark in Central Park—and I’m not talking the zoo. The local wildlife people are telling everyone that if they spot it, they should leave it the heck alone. Apparently it is a young bear, probably male because there are no cubs with it. They say it’s traveling west, which is fine except that the Mississippi River is west. If it is trying to get across to the Ozarks, it’s going to be highly annoyed to discover this impassable (for a bear) body of water between it and where it plans to go. I just hope that wherever it goes, it gets there safely without some idiot’s shooting it.
I know for a fact that we have what the farmers call ‘painters’ here. That is the southern designation for a panther—puma, cougar. My horse trainer had one cross the road in front of her several years ago, and another was noted in the edges of Collierville, the town my farm is closest to. I live close to the Wolf River and its bottoms, a wildlife (and I do mean wild) wetland area just down the hill from me. I have friends who kayak and canoe down there regularly. Even if I kayaked—which I do not—I wouldn’t do it on that stretch of the Wolf. I have been told the water moccasins hang in the branches of trees and have been known to drop into the boats that go under the limbs they are stretched on. I don’t swim all that well any longer, but I would decant myself right out of the kayak and into the river the same instant the snake decided to join me in the boat.
This morning while I was out in the barn feeding the horses, I looked back to the house to see a very large hare sitting outside my bedroom door watching me. I froze. He froze. We regarded one another silently for some time until he lollopped off. He was not in the last disturbed by my presence. Although I was surprised he was so close to the house, I wasn’t bothered by him. When we first moved out here, we had lots of rabbits and lots of quail. That was before the coyotes moved in. The coyotes do not bother the horses. They have better sense. The horses do not like them and will go to great lengths to kick, bite and stomp them. The coyotes make certain they never get the chance.
Now we have an owl. Full grown screech variety. He’s very large. Since he’s nocturnal I seldom see him, but I hear him all right. We have several red tail and Cooper’s hawks that sit on the telephone wires watching for mice, and several more turkey buzzards who sit in a dead tree and clean up any road kill down on the road. Thank heaven for them. Pretty they are not. Effective they are.
I hope that they figure we can coexist, but they probably think I am an interloper in their territory, and a scary one at that. Isn’t that a pity?