We went for a walk this morning, Dominic and I. It was cold and there was a slight dusting of snow on the ground. The moon was briefly visible behind the scudding clouds and the ducks were oddly busy in the skies, despite the dark hour. We were both chilled, even with our scarves and hats and mitts and boots, but we both agreed that winter is definitely on the wane, and that made us feel glad.
The mornings are getting lighter, at least, they're lighter once we're on the homeward stretch. We don't need the flashlight across the trestle bridge anymore (to keep cyclists from bumping into us in the dark), although I sometimes shine it into the bushes when one of us hears an alarming rustle in the brush, because we're on a bit of a cougar alert. There have been a number of sightings in our neck of the woods, which is hardly surprising given that we live so close to a wooded area, not to mention the preponderance of deer in the area. As is usual with these things, the general public is divided as to whether there are too many deer or just the perfect amount, and the letters to the editor section of the newspaper is filled with
bleeding hearts who never seriously garden comments protesting the proposed cull. You can guess which side I'm on. Having deer chase grown men and dogs down the street, seeing them getting whacked (in grisly ways) by cars on downtown city streets, not to mention hearing awful stories about them smashing through windows during rutting season, is all I need to know that we have an overabundance of this one particular animal. I'm also sick of chasing them out of my garden - and wondering when they'll decide to chase ME. Besides, where there's an overabundance of one animal in town there's very often a predator just itching to follow that big fat juicy trail into town. Ask any wildlife biologist.
I can do without cougar sightings in my neighbourhood. Makes going for solo walks up into the woods nerve-racking. Luckily I have Dominic with me. Even though he's shorter than me, and way more nervous about cougars, his presence has the effect of making me feel brave (oh, what a chicken I am). So it's fun to shine our lights at rustles in the bushes and make growling noises (as opposed to running like hell through the dark bits).