Friday, March 13, 2009

This is Where We Live Now

Banff Wildlife
Originally uploaded by Banff Lake Louise.
Today I was reading the Canmore newspaper. In which there was an article about a cougar that Parks Canada wardens have nicknamed Doug. Doug seems to be an efficient killing machine. In the last 2 weeks he has felled 2 elk. Both close to town, which is why this is news. The Wardens aren't worried, saying Doug isn't predatory towards humans. He is just a good cougar, doing what good cougars do. The strange thing for me reading this article was that I was almost high fiving the air! Thinking to myself, 'way to go Doug, you stealthy beast!'

Then I read an article about how the number of bears using the over and underpasses created for them across the Trans Canada highway has risen steadily for the past 12 years. Pretty much since they were created. These passes are essential as they allow wildlife to roam their natural hunting or grazing area without having to cross a very busy and dangerous highway. I thought the Wardens had a right to be proud that their idea was working.

Finally, on one of the pages towards the end their was a picture of a Lynx. I don't know if you have ever seen a Lynx up close, but they look like a slightly larger kitty cat. I couldn't stop staring at it. The caption said, 'a rare glimpse at a solitary and normally, nocturnal animal.' I knew it was a predator, but couldn't help thinking how much it reminded me of Yuko.

Last night Mark told me that he has been warned by co-workers that our street is famous for spring bear crossings. We decided we had better buy bear spray to take with us when running. No panic, just, this is life now. Add it to the grave already inhabilited by my iPod. Maybe, I suggested, we should get those bells for our runners as well. We both knodded.

All this is, of course, is in stark contrast to how I felt when I first moved here. At that point, it seemed like the media was full of stories about rabid, blood thirsty bears who would guzzle your intestines. I have, seriously, never lived this close to nature. Something you don't think about when in a city, or wrestle with until you move to someplace that is still largely part of the frontier. What surprises me is how comfortable I have become with it. It is just part of my life now. When I eat breakfast, deer graze outside the kitchen window. Driving to an appointment today I saw something weird moving along my normal running path. It was a pair of elk horns. Catch something out of the corner of your eye? It is probably rabbits or squirrels. What is most amazing to me is how well I am taking this 'invasion' of 'my' space. Guess I have learned to love the enemy.

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