I’ve mentioned it before, but I live in the woods. I am surrounded by forest and overgrowth from years of no human destruction. Our neighbors certainly aren’t close enough to peek in our windows. I absolutely love the privacy, and even more, the beauty of where I live, and the twenty minute drive into the city is worth every penny.
Out here in “the wilderness”, wild animals share our home. Quite literally. We’ve had turkeys on our back deck, deer eating from our bird feeders (and every flower in the yard, it seems), songbirds of every color, woodchucks, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, and even a rumored mountain lion. But I’ve grown up in this place, and was raised to love and respect the animals in the woods.
That is, until the dog brings a half-eaten one into the kitchen and drops it at my feet.
As you can imagine from the previous sentence, my throat is still a bit sore from the gnarly, blood-curdling scream that shook the window panes as I frantically tried to hop on the counter. Now, it’s not that I’m afraid of animals, or the kind of girl who makes her boyfriend kill spiders and cockroaches (my bug fascination is frowned upon, apparently).
It’s just that I wasn’t expecting the still-moving, clearly-half-alive rabbit to flop out of my dog’s mouth this morning. But, being the eighteen-year-old, mature adult I am, I didn’t wait for my knight in shining armor to come save the day. I decided (after I got over my screaming spell), that if I didn’t get my ass off the counter and pick up this poor thing, it was going to stay in my house forever.
This, my friends, is called taking initiative and taking risks.
Gingerly stepping from the counter, I called for my younger brother (who was equally terrified, mind you) to fetch me the paper towels. With a wad nearly as thick as my arm, I scooped up the traumatized animal, sprinted out the door whispering prayers and obscenities underneath my breath, and deposited the bundle in the field next to my house.
I learned two things from this experience. One, is that when you have no other options, you will do what it takes to survive in this world. And two, that somewhere inside of me, there is always a hair-raising scream just waiting to escape.
When living with the animals, it’s best to be prepared for both situations.