Moose appear in my writing a lot. They are such a large part of life up here, and we see them everywhere: In our yards and while driving down the street, in grocery story parking lots, on the trails, at the park and even in school playgrounds.
This mama moose visited our yard a few days ago. She was with last year’s calf and she was pregnant, too. Notice how full her belly is? She’ll be giving birth within the next few weeks.
(Don’t you love the look on her face? As if she’s ready to speak. And oh, how I wonder what she’d say to me.)
Now that spring has arrived and the trees are beginning to bud, green is shooting up all over the place and the moose are in a bit of a flurry, snacking out all over town. Because, imagine it: The luxury of green in their mouths after having eaten bark and twigs all winter. Probably, those buddings taste as extravagant as chocolate, and the rich and expensive kind, too.
Hundreds of moose roam Anchorage in the summer. There’s a cow that lives around our neighborhood and often visits our yard, especially in the fall when the crab apples ripen. For the past two years, she’s had two calves with her. This could be her, or it could be another moose (it’s very hard to tell them apart, you see). We feel very protective of our moose, as if they are part of our neighborhood, part of our lives.
This moose had only one calf with her, from last year and almost fully grown. I call these teen moose because they move with such awkward jerkiness, as if they are not quite sure what their bodies are going to do next.
(The yearling moose walking across our yard with an insolent expression upon its face. Doesn’t it look just like a teenager? All it needs is a hoody.)
I love seeing moose around our house. It’s an odd juxtaposition. We live within the city limits, on a dead-end road next to a bike path. We are within driving minutes from Starbucks, REI, grocery stores, etc. Yet we are frequently visited by these very large animals that live, for the most part, hidden among us.
It reminds me that the wild lives inside us all, that in a sense, we all share the same heartbeat, the same pulse. And while I often see moose while running trails, I feel a special kinship toward city moose. They sleep in our yard, peer inside our windows, leave their droppings near the doorstep. Like the rest of us, they are simply trying to get by.
(Look closely at this picture: She has her tongue out. I think she’s telling me to put the camera down and get the hell out of “her” yard.)
After I went back inside the house, I stood at the kitchen window and ate my lunch while the moose and her moody teen ate their lunch, and it was strange and yet comforting to know that we were so close and yet, still worlds apart.