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The wonder of wild creatures

The wonder of wild creatures

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

There’s a black bear in our neighborhood.

The neighbor about a quarter mile north of us saw it yesterday morning. The neighbor two drives to the south of us said it got a couple of his chickens last week.

So here we are, wondering if it’s wandering through our place along with the deer and bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions.

If so, I hope it’s shy like all the other animals here. I don’t want to be frightened of the critters with whom we share our property.

Tuesday afternoon, I walked outside and heard the clear, full, haunting calls of Sandhill Cranes. Every year around this time, thousands fly over on their way to breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Siberia.

These are not small birds. They range from four to five feet tall. They fly thousands of feet above the earth, their calls ringing down like crystal.

The first time I heard them, many years ago now, I felt like I was inside a huge bell while it was being rung. Their trilling was that pure, the sound vibrating right through me.

Last week, on my way to work, I had a pleasant surprise. It was so early, mine was the only car on Highway 49. But the sun was bright beneath the clouds, making everything shiny as I drove past gas stations, restaurants and antique stores not yet open for business.

Suddenly, I noticed to my left, a little red fox. It darted out of a residential driveway, ran along the sidewalk, its tail in full bush, its face delicate and beautiful and intense. It turned in at another house, ran up that drive and disappeared.

Seeing that little fox, free and eager and going someplace because he felt like it, made me happy. For the rest of the morning.

That’s how I felt Tuesday when I came outside and heard the Sandhill Cranes and looked up and saw their long V shapes stretching across the sky.

I think that’s how I’d feel if I saw a black bear scratching himself against one of our knarly oaks, or just wandering through.

For as Henry David Thoreau once said: "This curious world we inhabit…is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used."

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