WARNING: This is a humor piece do not attempt this anywhere ever! Moose are dangerous animals that will attack at the slightest provocation. Even tamed ones have the ability to crush you without realizing. They weigh on average more than a car. Please use a few of the brains you were born with.
I have just seen my last six lives…I remember kicking a Pope, being killed for being a thief, and yes being a Frenchman willing to speak to an Englishman anytime before about World War 2, which may explain my near death experience. It may also explain why I survived. Nothing explains what happened next.
I was walking along, minding my own business. I looked up from the snow covered sidewalk, packed nearly three feet thick under our boots and the weight of our nearly record breaking snowfall, to see a moose coming at me full gallop. There is no question I hit the chest high snow bank on my right with enough force to nearly dent the ice solid mass that had accumulated over the last couple months as I scrabbled desperately out of the way. I may have not been up north for very long I knew if the moose wanted to go through it got to choose.
Scrabbling for purchase, the fear pumping adrenaline through my bloodstream making the simple pile of snow seem miles high and at a ninety degree angle, I clung to freezing crystals with the desperation of a woman cursed for a thousand lifetimes. The sound of heavy breathing close by and the lack of clipped thuds alerted me to a change in the situation. Eyes wide I caught sight of three people gaping at something behind me with, one was moving his phone slowly from his coat pocket while another, a woman, was mouthing what I would later find out were the words 'stay calm'. Half up the side of the obstacle to my safety, clinging with my nails I turned carefully; inching slowly around, sending a prayer to whatever was listening that I wasn't about to be squished by one of the most feared creatures in Alaska. If I wasn't so sure that being under the hooves of the vision that greeted me would be the last thing I would ever do I surely would have fainted dead away at the sight the eight foot tall dark brown moose standing not more than three feet away.
Long snout with flared nostrils reminded me that my roommate once called the moose an angry animal. I believed it looking into those hard, black eyes. The animal shift closer and I resisted shrieking; fearing it would either induce the pain I knew I would soon be in or galvanize the horrified watchers which would in turn enrage the cloven hoofed death in front of me. The instinct became harder to resist when a small shift revealed a second, smaller body pressed against larger one, a mother and her calf.
I will never know what I must have looked like to her; terrified, clinging like a limpet to a crumbly rock of ice, eyes probably three times their usual size. She shifted closer, I squeaked and the little one chuffed. Then she nudged me, more curious than anything, and I slid from my precarious position with a small puff of air. The little one, excited to join the game, sniffed at me eagerly nearly trampling my hand in the process. The mother nosed it back from my hand and sniffed at me. I didn't move, sure this was the part where she was going to rear back and I was going to become flat.
Then something strange happened, she nudged me with her nose a few times. I will it admit it took me about three minutes longer than it should have to figure out she wanted me to stand up. I shakily climbed to my feet, biting my lip and trying not to cry. She nudged me again this time next to her calf just as several police cars came roaring around the corner. Again I was trapped this time between a mother and her calf with several loud sounds. Again I expected death and again I was surprised. The mother shielded the calf and I from view making a low sound of warning at the officers.
There was a lot of shouting going on and though the words escaped me in my shock I think the gist of it was they were afraid to shoot because they might hit me and that I should try to move away from the animals. Clearly they had never been in this position before. Moving away was a once one of the most obvious yet stupidest things I could do if mama moose wanted me where I was. The calf huddled against me, frightened of the noise. This was Karma for something I'm sure.
For an hour I stood there shivering from standing in cold while there was a Mexican standoff between a large female moose and three police officers. I will never truly remember, I don't think, what happened next. One of the officers, they said he was new, shot at the mama. She reared again forcing me to move away for fear of my skull. The movement apparently got mama's attention since she looked at me for just a moment, then looked at her offspring. Then the mama, for lack of any better term nuzzled me and walked off, her calf following behind enthusiastically; though he did lick at my arm first.
Thankfully my legs held until they were around the corner and there were a few people next to me because after they buckled I don't think I could have gotten up again. I made it home that day shaking, terrified and more than a little confused, after I was treated from moderate to severe shock at the hospital. I don't know what she saw that day that made her want to protect me, but I swear that I'll come home some nights and see a figure in the darkness, just watching. Strangely I've never feared a moose since.