Because it’s summer, with flowers blooming wildly and birds singing as if there’s no tomorrow, I assume some kind of wildlife has entered my yard.
Cracking open the back door, I peek out. Despite my admiration for foxes and wild turkeys, I don’t necessary want to tiptoe out into the yard and run into any family squabbles.
Every night this week, though, I’ve heard a rather peculiar noise, and I wonder if the flash of brown and red I see belongs to that eerie sound.
Gangs of doves scurry in front of me, and I squeal like a little girl. Have I that little backbone in me?
I certainly didn’t use to be that way. Just five years earlier I hiked a part of the Appalachian trail, by myself, for three days.
Keeping on the well-tread wooded path, I shake my head at my new lack of courage. Last year I declined an invitation by a good friend to drive cross-country with her in six days. Maybe I’d been worried about losing a week of work, but in my heart, I knew I had just been worried, period. Nasty truck drivers, blown tires, dirty restrooms, boring miles along the Kansas highways – those are the things I allowed to stop me from saying yes.
Queerly, the tall creature stands up like the human I thought it was at first, but then the thing shows off six legs, or arms, a silky coat of brown (fur?), and a crown of red feathers.
“Red rover, red rover, red random red do,” the creature states in a singsong voice.
“Say what?” I screech inanely.
Telling myself to start walking backwards, slowly, slowly, away from this…this thing, I move one foot behind the other. Until I trip on a stick and stub my toe, which makes me hop in pain even while continuing my reverse passage.
Veering left, the creature leaps directly into my backward path.
When I stop, it stops.
“X” marks the spot!” I scream loudly, with conviction, hoping that maybe the proclamation will scare the creature away, or at least confuse it.
Young and restless, that’s what I’d been when I hiked alone and skied black diamonds.
Zen-like, I close my eyes and wish for that younger self to get me out of this ridiculous predicament.