The dress rehearsal for Incorruptible: A Dark Comedy About the Dark Ages is tonight (see “The Play’s the Thing“). As you might expect, the past couple weeks have involved almost nightly practices, and continual line-running on my part (as it were).
Since I run lines by listening to a recording of one of our read-throughs on my iPod, and since studies show that memorizing while walking aids retention, I “play along” with the recording as I hike to and from the road to attend practice. This not only makes me sound like a victim of Tourette’s Syndrome as I wander through the forest, it makes me vulnerable to surprise.
I described the recent, seemingly sudden appearance of a pair of moose on the roadside one night (see Lovely, Dark and Deep). Apparently, I learned nothing from that encounter.
As I made my way home earlier this week, I crossed the bay and started up the trail across the grassy margin between water and forest, waiting for my next cue and essentially looking within myself. I suddenly became aware of motion in front of me. A cow moose trotted down the beach trail, bisecting my path at alarmingly close proximity. She may not even have seen me; certainly I earned no more than a passing glance some seconds before I became aware of her. I certainly found myself startled out of my monastic contemplation.
Sometime the next day, as I reflected on the moment, I realized that this is calving season for moose. I also remembered that our peninsula offers prime moose nursery environment. As a result, presently our nearest neighbors are large, very nervous and protective mothers with a half ton or so of potential momentum, and large, sharp hooves.
I don’t know why these facts came to me so far into the nursery season. I recently heard my neighbor’s story about his and his wife’s encounter with the rogue cow moose that became so aggressive in our forest that another neighbor shot and killed it a few years ago with the blessing and cooperation of Alaska Fish & Game—a rare occurrence, and a slightly different version of events I described here (see Rogue Moose Taken Down).
I know better than to wear earphones in the forest. A friend got attacked by a moose she surprised while walking on her road while wearing headphones one winter. A woman farther north died when attacked by wild animals (I forget now, whether it was a bear or wolves) while jogging in headphones. It’s certainly not a good idea, particularly for me, commuting through the moose’s nursery forest.
I almost always wear only one side of my earphones while in the woods. I wear both crossing the bay because it helps block the wind from my eardrums, and because—theoretically at least—I can take advantage of a wider field of view. For the duration of the play, I’ll likely keep one ear free at all times, and my eyes and mind focused outward rather than inward. This “monk” is going to stay moose wary!
You can hear our local radio station’s story on the play here. You’ll also see where I got the photo!