Being planted on the eastern shore, surrounded by the ocean, rivers, creeks and even guts (ditches that pretend to be bigger than what they are), there is always an assortment of abundant ‘wildlife’ to keep things just interesting enough. And when I say interesting, I mean you had better act much faster than what your brain is processing.
There are mosquitoes (really called skeeters), that seem bigger than some of the military jets flying over as they head towards the base. Then there is the ungodly looking water moccasin (and all it’s relatives and friends) that’s bigger than your arm and just ugly enough to scare the skeeters into hiding, not to mention the poor soul that’s unfortunate enough to be caught too close to this angry creature. Topping all of it though is the alligator, those that ‘aren’t really around here’ until you happen to look ‘up the gut’ and see two evil eyes floating towards you.
Way back 25 years ago or so, I was just dumb enough to climb into a canoe and set out on the big adventure to find a gator. Little did I realize then that maybe it wasn’t such a smart move to be in such a small vessel when looking for something that was bigger than what I was in! But no matter how many creeks and guts we rode in and out of all day long, we never caught sight of the first gator. Looking back, I’m so glad we didn’t! Really, in a canoe? I can see that if there had been one, excitement would have ensued, the canoe would have rocked, and the chance of flipping into the water with said alligator could have had drastic and long-term physical and psychological effects! Learned my lesson. Never did it again, until today.
I was visiting with some friends who live on one of those ‘guts’ and she told me about all the alligators she had seen swimming, all coming from the same direction and always headed to the same big water. It’s so beautiful there, a log cabin sitting up on a hill, looking down over the gut. Chickens in the coop and kitties in the yard. But their place is full of skeeters and even more water moccasins. Now there are alligators. A really big one and a couple of smaller ones, maybe mom and her kiddos. Apparently, with all the food sources hanging around down there, that’s a perfect place for them to dine in or carry out. Poor kitty, all she was doing was sitting on the bank, in her own little world, when one of the smaller gators decided that lunch was indeed being served. With sneaky abandon, he put one foot slowly in front of the other and climbed up onto the bank. Did he not know he was being watched the whole time? Either kitty didn’t see him or she was totally mesmerized by the wicked looking gator. By that time, we knew things was not going to end well for kitty if we didn’t stop that stinking gator! We all jumped up as one, shouting and stomping our feet on the deck (sounding like hyenas but glad we didn’t end up on YouTube!), making all the racket we could to scare the kitty into action and freak out the gator enough to jump back in the water where he belonged!
Whew! That was close. This day, kitty didn’t have to use one of the nine lives but it sure was a close one. Which brings me to the gator hunt. The gut meanders on through the woods and flows in a tile under the road. All the water on the other side of this tile leads to a river. It’s full of gators. My new hunting ground.
I didn’t see a gator there this afternoon but next time I’ll be armed and ready – with my camera!
“Not all those who wander are lost.” J R R Tolkien