I Like Animals But . . .
In a gesture to Earth Day, my wife and I headed to the Quality Cinema in Ann Arbor to see the movie Earth. It's a magnificently filmed portrayal of our Mother Earth and its relationship with plants and animals. It also depicts the often sad symbiosis between predator and prey.
Though this flick was rated G, I wondered how a three-year-old in the audience might react to the extended chase sequence where a lone wolf tried to catch a baby caribou that was separated from the herd up near the Arctic Circle. The narrator explained that though the caribou was young, it still was faster than the wolf and had a fifty-fifty chance of escaping.
"I've got a dollar on the wolf," I said to Wendy. I didn't hear Wendy agree to the bet, but I would have doubled my money. A later scene showed a polar bear marauding through a group of walruses hoping to separate out a pup he could then kill. However, the polar bear was weak, having barely survived a long swim across the melting Arctic waters. Still, I put another dollar on the bear.
This time I wasn't so lucky. Neither was the bear. Wounded from fighting with the walruses, he lay down in the snow after his unsuccessful attack, apparently to go to sleep and die.
Much of the film was shot from a hot air balloon which gave viewers an eagle's eye view of the action throughout the film. From north pole to south pole, from the Himalayas to the ocean, the viewer constantly felt up close and personal with nature. That's all well and good on the screen but . . .
Early one morning this past week I was awakened before dawn by racket that sounded like something rattling the screen of our bedroom window. Hail! At least that's what I thought in my somnambulor stupor. Then I awoke fully to see a critter out our bedroow window, trying to get up close and personal with US.
I should note that our bedroom sits on the second floor, but the windows face out over our family room roof. Any animal that climbs up to the roof could easily enter our bedroom if the windows were clear of any impediments. In this case, I had the window open because it was quite warm, so only the screen separated us from this would-be intruder.
He didn't even flee when I flicked on the light on my nightstand. I could see a small head with two pointy ears. Could have been a possum or a raccoon, but the glare off the window made it too difficult to see. For Wendy too, since once roused, she tried to see what I saw but didn't.
In fact, she thinks I didn't see anything at all. Just had a bad dream. Or maybe a hallucination. When I recounted my close encounter for others, Wendy compared it to the Twilight Zone episode where the plane passenger thinks he sees some fantastic creature out the plane window, standing on the wing. Part of me wants that creature to pay a return visit so my wife can see that I was right. Then again, part of me doesn't want to deal with that kind of close encounter anytime soon.