Sunday, April 26, 2009

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.


Blogger Lynilu said...

OK, now I'm alright with the natural cycle of nature, but I don't want to witness the bloody cycle up close. Nope. And no way in hell would I want a small child to see it, either. If we all still lived on a frontier where it were more or less common, I suppose a child wouldn't need sheltering, but not our urban kids.

I remember that episode of Twilight Zone! Funny that W has such sharp wit after waking in the middle of the night! You got a good 'un there, Dave!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

didn't realize it was going to be that graphic! my daughter was determined to take the little ones this weekend.

thank goodness the older one (a mere age 2) ran a slight fever and they had to stay home!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Honey.... you know what you saw and I believe you that some crazy animal was messing with your house and your head. Years ago, when we lived out on Ten Mile Creek (is starts as the Raisin River), my son awoke in the night and saw a bat hanging on his second floor bedroom window. He turned over, then thought, "If that bat is on the outside of my screen, why could I see it's belly?" He jumped out of bed and slammed down the window. The next morning, there was the bat between the window and the screen. We have no idea how it got there, but we opened the window a little way, flipped up the Pella hook thingies and allowed the bat to go his merry way. Never doubt yourself when it comes to things that go bump in the night.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--They did stop at the bloodletting. Once the predator caught the prey, cut! (the film that is). I liked both those Twilight Zone episodes; the first starred a pre-Star Trek William Shatner.

CARINE--There were kids in the audience when we went. When the wolf was chasing the baby caribou, I heard one little boy say, "This is the good part." But a young girl down the row was on her mother's lap shielding her eyes from the screen.

KACEY--We've had a couple bats in our house. Wendy was changing the sheets on our son's bed once when her fingers ran across something furry. That was one of them.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooo, I can't deal with the chase scenes either. Makes me squirm when I see my cat chasing a grasshopper.

Sounds like a raccoon to me. That reminds me of when I was a teen. I rolled over one night and saw a pair of eyes staring at me through the bedroom window. Convinced it was Freddy Kruger, I spent a sleepless night under the blankets.

The next morning I saw hoof prints by the window. My horse had escaped out of her stall and was observing how humans slumbered. :o)


8:12 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

We went to see Earth, too. It was pretty good. I can't say I whispered my bet to The Missus, but of course I had it all figured out in my head. I lost on the polar bear, too.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DEBBIE--If I thought I saw a horse looking in the window at me, I might hide under the covers too. Then again, that's the city side of me coming out.

FRED--I couldn't bet on the elephant versus the lions. If I were that elephant though, I would have done a quick roll on the ground. Think that would have discouraged them from jumping on my back.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave - I believe you! Enough said.

I never liked those "death" scenes either...I know that is just nature in action, but I always feel bad for the victim.

I LOVED the Twilight Zone... I remember that episode too. Tell Wendy that she is getting melodramatic.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Isabelle said...

Have you read that Garrison Keillor story about a skunk that got into the bedroom???

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bet is on the racoon they are so nightly and curious. Boy they can get into about anything too. The animals must be desperate for food to go that far up onto a house. Noise is the best one of those portable AIR Horns will get them flying.. course it wakes the neighbors and then you have other problems hahah YOu sure wouldn't want to startle a SKUNK either ! What a predicament! Hope you get some peaceful sleep... hava great weekend : )

8:53 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I'd be more concerned about the size of that horse Dave.... 2nd floor window!!!!!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LUCY--Wendy got even more melodramatic one night more recently. She woke me up in the middle of the night, certain that she heard "growling." I asked if it sounded like a dog or something from The Exorcist. Could have even been my stomach.

ISABELLE--No thanks. And we do have skunks in our neighborhood, though I haven't seen any on our block.

CAROLDEE--I think it was a raccoon too, but he hasn't been back anyway. And I do have one of those air horns. Never thought of using that.

PETER--Me too. The bigger the animal, the more it scares me.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Perhaps you saw a wolverine.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BONNIE--Then we would have heard growling intermixed with "Go Blue."

Here's a joke that my MSU leaning supervisor has posted on his wallboard. Stop me if you've heard it already.

Bobby Knight dies and arrives in heaven. God leads him to a modest home with a faded Indiana flag flying out front. God tells him this is his home and to be thankful as not everyone gets as nice a home.

Later, Knight is walking around and sees this glorious green and white mansion, MSU flags flying everywhere and a huge banner labeled, "Izzone."

So Knight tracks down God and complains, saying that he has won three national championships to Izzo's one and has won more Big Ten titles too. So why did Izzo deserve a more splended heavenly abode.

God replied, "Oh, that's not Tom Izzo's house. That's mine."

3:39 PM  

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