Recently, I have begun straying from the landscaped paths around the new office park. Instead, I walk the edge of the property, which is lined by an area of dense trees and unfortunately very stickery-laden shrubbery. Breathing in the sweet, woodsy smell combined with fresh cut grass, I stroll happily during my break.
Today, I stopped short after my first deep inhalation. I spotted a fox, who was apparently enjoying his own lunch in the middle of the field. At first, I thought this was cool, until I realized that he could bite. He had noticed me, and was staring very suspiciously in my direction. Despite sending telepathic messages that I had no intentions of stealing his meal, he began to take a few steps towards the woods. I realized that my plan was to walk directly in between the fox and his dead thing. Not good. I considered changing directions. Then I thought, "No! I am human! The most feared of all the animals!!" Armed with the knowledge that he was more scared of me than I of him, I confidently pulled out my cell phone. My devious plan if he decided to attack: to kick him, and, if he was successful at biting me, to call 911. Ha ha! Take that! No wonder we humans are the superior race!
By this time, Mr. Fox had decided to hide in the woods, and I was approaching the area where he was no doubt hiding beneath a sticker-laden shrub with his own devious plan in mind. Perhaps he even had his little paw hovering over the "send" button, with 3-6-9 (FOX) already typed in. A hint of fear closed over me, but I pushed it away - foxes can smell fear, I think. I also decided a bit of stomping was in order, so that he would know I am much bigger than he is. I successfully navigated my way past Mr. Fox without incident.
I continued to walk, noting that raspberries appeared to be ripening, as dragonflies zipped to and fro in front of me. Again, I stopped short. I had spotted a groundhog (some folks call them gophers). This little guy was not as observant as Mr. Fox, which possibly explains the prevalence of his brethren along road sides. He had not noticed me at all. A portly fellow, he was peacefully munching some clover. Again, I considered a route-reversal, but as I am human and obviously smarter than him, I decided again to plow on. Still, I didn't want to startle him. I know groundhogs are not aggressive, but I was only about 8 feet from him, and I wasn't sure what he'd do if he thought I was planning on eating him. I decided some stomping, again, was in order. I jumped twice as heavily as I could, and the groundhog responded quickly by running into his borough. Wha-ha-ha! I am so clever! I successfully navigated past the home of Mr. Gopher without incident.
La-dee-dah, I walked a bit further to a nice grassy area where I planned to lie and read. As I began to lower my substantial and infamous rear to the ground, I stopped short. Again. A turtle shell, presumably with turtle inside, was nestled neatly in the grass. Finally, an animal I did not fear! In fact, I hoped Mr. Turtle would come out of his shell and be my friend. Unfortunately, I am aware that turtles are notorious carriers of Salmonella, so I was hesitant to touch him. I thought perhaps, if I nudged him gently with my shoe, he might come out of his shell. Nudge nudge. Nada. I guess Mr. Turtle was napping. Or dead. Whatever. I navigated a little way past Mr. Turtle, and carefully plopped to the grass without incident.
I read my book with cell phone nestled nearby in the grass. I still had a watchful eye on Mr. Fox's lunch, and I hoped Mr. Turtle might wake up. After a bit, it began to rain a tad, so I got up, lifted my cell phone, and stopped short. There, below the phone, was a spider much larger than I am comfortable with, complete with egg-sac. Yikes! He was obviously afraid of me, because he was doing his best to blend into the grass and remain still. I took a picture of Mr. Spider and decided to go to the parking lot for the walk to the office. I had my fill of wildlife for the day. Ironically, Mr. Spider was probably the most deadly...but he posed for his picture without incident.