Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I was taking my noon walk when I saw a woodchuck just ahead of me ten yards or so. They usually run off, but this one didn't. It seemed to be nuzzling a rock. As I drew closer, I saw it wasn't a rock at all, but another woodchuck just emerging from a burrow -- probably its mate. I imagined this conversation:
"Honey, don't look now, but there's one of those huge creatures approaching us with a big black thing hanging around it's neck. You'd better go. I'll distract it."
"Go without you? Why? Can't you come with me?"
"No, I'm going to stay here and keep an eye on it until I know you're safe. Hurry home. Use the back door, and I'll meet you there. Now!"
She scurried off through the underbrush and disappeared.
With the camera to my eye, I approached closer and closer, continuing to shoot, the DSLR mirror slapping loudly in the stillness. Chuck did not move. It seemed strange, because they're usually such shy creatures, quick to run at the slightest sound or movement. Instead, he stood his ground and did not budge while his mate made her way to safety. He seemed to be challenging me.
"You want a piece of me?"
For a moment I thought he was actually going to charge. Then, in the blink of an eye, he ducked into the hole at his feet and disappeared. Mission accomplished.