I saw it at the bottom of the hill behind our house a couple of weeks ago. I was on a noisy garden tractor at the time, but that did not seem to bother the animal at all. It actually took a couple of steps toward me as I began driving down the hill.
It was about the size of a small German Shepherd. And, I don’t mind telling you, it was a little scary to have it track my movements for several minutes before it melted into the nearby woods.
I saw it again last Sunday, so I guess it is here to stay for a while.
I say “for a while,” because the older I get the more I notice change.
For instance, we used to have woodchucks. I have seen as many as six woodchucks at once in summers past. Their holes riddle the hillside. And there is even a burrow smack in the middle of the lawn, down near Norwalk Creek.
But now that we have coyotes, and we no longer have woodchucks. I have not seen one for weeks.
Likewise, we used to have chipmunks. They burrowed in our outdoor flower pots and nibbled at our ripening tomatoes, just enough to ruin each fruit.
But the past couple of years, I have been seeing more cats roaming free. And this summer I have not seen a single chipmunk. I think there is a correlation there.
I suppose it is the same with squirrels. We have a couple dozen walnut trees so we used to have fox squirrels. Lots of them, wagging their bushy tails.
But now we have mostly black squirrels. I know all squirrels are rodents, but I always liked the fox squirrels better.
Of course I can play the “used to have” game all day long.
I used to have hostas in my landscape all summer. Now I have deer all year, instead.
We used to have just three channels on our television. Now we have a hundred and fifty. And there is still nothing good on.
We used to have lady bugs in the fall. Now we have stink bugs. And they stay all winter.
I used to have lists of things to do but could not get them done because I had a full-time job. Now I have lists of things to do and am not sure why I can’t get them done.
Likewise, I used to think that someday I would get everything caught up. Now I think the same thing. But I know better.
We used to have winters with cold and snow that lasted for months. Now we usually don’t.
I used to get sunburned. Now I have an annual dermatologist appointment to work on the damage.
I used to have hair. Now I have a few extra minutes each shower, formerly used for shampooing.
I used to write this column every Sunday morning in the Reflector office. Now I write it whenever I feel like it from a desk at home, occasionally looking up to see if a coyote is trotting past the window.
Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] hotmail.com.