“Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again…” ~ Bill Murray, “Groundhog Day”
Yesterday, I had different post planned and was taking my daily walk/run around the property’s perimeter with Scout, our Rat Terrier.
Thomas has warned me on more than several occasions to always take my iPhone and a walking stick, to which I respond with my sheesh face which looks something like this. : / I am no delicate petunia. I am an experienced hiker, survived winter camping, and am aware that animals won’t bother you unless they are hungry or you are a threat. I felt pretty certain I would not run into a Great White Shark along my path. After all, I’ve had mice on me and been in close contact with snakes and bats. I am the person that stops traffic to move turtles, even snappers.
So, I was on my way with Scout, with no cell phone, camera in tow, and no walking stick, happily snapping photographs for the intended post and thanking God for his many blessings — the beautiful day, the abilities to walk and transport me to this magical place, to see the beauty before me, to hear the birds, to feel the warmth of the sun and to smell the scent of spring. It was another day to discover all life has to offer. I decided to create a wild flower bouquet.
As I’ve previously mentioned, there is an abundance of wildlife in the area. Halfway through our walk Scout paused and pointed, it was not a big deal. He does this often. But, when I heard a loud rustling in the brush I hesitated, considering what it might be—obviously it was too big for a bird or rabbit, perhaps it was an owl or deer.
Suddenly the largest ground hog (yes, I said ground hog) I’ve ever seen was staring us down, unafraid. He ran to Scout who was actually smaller in size and started fighting. Fortunately Scout was much too fast for him and the groundhog couldn’t reach him.
Both of them were running down the path, toward the pond. I was sure the Ground Hog was going to seek refuge there, as they are known to be strong swimmers. I ordered my dog to back off and allow the animal time to disappear. We all had enough excitement for one day. I was even afforded the chance to take a few photographs. As it happened, the Ground Hog had other plans. It turned and focused on me.
“Seriously?” I thought, “Dude, you may not know this but you are a ground hog. Seeing your shadow scares you back into your den.” I considered the possibility, that perhaps I was wrong. Maybe it’s a badger? No, it’s ground hog, a ground hog on steroids–a Jersey ground hog. Swinging his clawed fists at me and showing his huge incisors, in full attack mode. I swung my expensive super duper camera at him in defense. He was not fazed.
Neither was I; I mean, how fast could he possibly run? I took off. After a few yards I looked back to see just how fast a ground hog could run, promptly tripped and fell to the ground. Lying there on the ground, my life flashed before my eyes. I heard Thomas’ instructions and wished I had listened. If only I had my phone I could call him at work for a final farewell. I looked up at the beautiful blue sky and white cotton candy clouds and noticed the turkey buzzards (aka vultures) circling. So this is how it ends, God? I will be ravaged by a rampant rodent with rabies, my remains left to be picked apart by a turkey buzzard? I knew I should have had Wheaties instead of Coco Puffs this morning. At least when Thomas returns home from work and locates a few of my bones, the camera will hold the tell-tale evidence of who did me in. It’s odd what you think of, when you know your life is ending: “How will my blog reader’s know? Surely Thomas will do a post on this.”
Everyone has experienced OH SHIT moments. This was mine. The creature was about to leap onto me just when my faithful canine intervened and distracted him long enough for me to pull myself to my feet. Again, I wish I had listened to Thomas. If I had a walking stick I could defend myself from this beast. I had only a small bouquet of wild flowers in my hand. What was I going to do, toss petals at him and sing Kumbaya? Worth a try: “Someones angry my lord, Kumbaya.” It didn’t work. With no other option and just as he was about to grab hold of my leg with his death grip and take a chunk of it using those incredible teeth, I realized this was my moment–at last the years of martial arts lessons would finally pay off. I didn’t waste all that time after all. In short, I kicked him. Hard. I felt horrible doing it and still do. I don’t like to cause pain. Unfortunately, this groundhog had apparently been training longer than me and his response was proof positive I don’t like causing pain, because he didn’t feel any. He was only briefly stunned and then continued to chase us–the entire way to the road, a half mile unpaved road to hell. My beloved eagle sat on his perch watching. I prayed he would swoop down for some take out. But obviously, his money was on the Ground Hog.
Bruised and battered it is but for the grace of God that I am here today to share this story. Did I say groundhog? I meant black bear, er grizzly bear–yeah, that’s it…
Groundhogs are known to have aggressive personalities, and will fight to the death, preferably yours, if protecting a litter. Although I am making light of the incident, I was afraid my dog or I would be injured. Luckily, we weren’t bitten or scratched. It’s a good reminder to keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date.