I live at least 500 miles from from the nearest moose habitat, after all.
Whenever I head north, I watch hawk-eyed for the off chance that I will catch a glimpse of the elusive moose. I try not to pester Shane to drive too slowly. I ask locals where to look. I go sleepless, waiting on the edge of marshes where I'd been advised that I would see one without fail, after making up excuses as to why I need to run to the market at 5:00 am for some item that can't wait, when in fact, I just hope that the early hour will increase my chances of a sighting. I keep my telephoto lens on my camera, ready at all times, at a moment's notice, to shoot like crazy.All true.All proofI've gone bananas. You need to understand that on more than one occasion we have left the North Country while I fought back tears, knowing they were ridiculous, becauseI hadn't seen a moose.So silly, I tell you, and I knew it, and I still got beat up about it. What does that tell you about me?
Shane has been known to try and stop people from telling me that they saw a moose because he knew it would upset me that I wasn't there.
My parents aren't crazy like me. It was not inherited from them. They are normal.
I don't get jealous of other people's possessions and lifestyles, but if I hear that someone has seen a moose, well, I'mgreen with envy. I have often wondered at the "unfairness" of the experience when someone elsefails to be in aweof their moose sighting.Don't they know how blessed they are?! When I, who has always longed to (in a ridiculous, crazy, shouldn't-admit-it manner) see one, has been denied? I should admit my own hypocrisy right here and now.The day before my moose adventure, while on a whale watching boat (pictures to come), a woman explained how seeing the orca on our excursion had madethat day the best day of her life so far.I thought to myself, "I can't imagine being so obsessed with whales!" while inwardly, I rolled my eyes.*sigh* I'm so terribly human, thatI make the "natural man" look good!*sigh, again* Good grief, Charlie Brown.
So, while driving in hopes of making Butte Montana by nightfall, I was having my standard North Country conversation with the Lord to "please, I don't need this to know Thou dost love me, but if Thou wouldst not mind, it would be perfectly wonderful, and I would never forget, so long as it isn't Thy will that I get Alzheimer's, this tender mercy, if Thou wouldst please bless me
to get to see a moose, and maybe even get a picture so that I never forget ever (unless, with Alzheimer's, I should wonder who took that lovely photo of a moose), and can show Shane in Afghanistan a bit of his Montana heritage, that would be wonderful. But of course, if there is anything I've learned from these past few years of tender mercies, it is that I am loved, and I don't need this to know that, and I love Thee, with or without seeing a moose, but it would be so great, and please, if it be Thy will, pleeeeeease let me see a moose." And yes, that is probably pretty close to verbatim to my prayer, except exponentially less run-on-sentency, if that is even possible, of which I know it is, but that is how I pray, and I never really thought about how grammatically wacky it all is until now that I tried typing the short-hand version for you here. But you already knew I was quirky. No surprises there.Yikes!Someone get me an editor. So... I was having this conversation, when I immediately saw an exit and thought to myself, "I wonder if I got off at that exit if I would see a moose..." I didn't take the exit. I had a time frame, after all. The time frame being, the get-to-a-hotel-before-nightfall-at-which-time-this-driver-goes-blind frame of time. That and the fact that we were nearly out of gas. 1 mile down the road, in a little marshy area right by the I-90, I saw her. Of course I was going 75 miles an hour on a twisty mountain interstate and couldn't stop. I decided to take the next exit, which wasn't for several more miles. I thought there must be a frontage road, even a dirt one, that followed the river, so I turned to look, and found one, that obviously was not used much, but nonetheless there. Of course, I took it, assuming that it would take me right back to the last exit along the creek.
Well, it went in the right direction. I shifted the Tahoe into 4-lo, because it was primitive, and had the kids scouting for wildlife. We went about a mile and a half on it and found a "road closed" gate.
The road was too narrow to turn around on anywhere because it was on a mountain cutaway and dropped steeply down. I think I made about a 28-point turn-round, but we managed, despite Mayzie'ssurety that we would roll down the cliff (which was, of course, outside of my fabulous mountain driving skill capability, Mom, so don't worry).
Of course, we were no longer worried about getting to Butte by sunset, we were only concerned about capturing a glimpse of themoose, and hopefully getting a picture. But I said to the kids, "well, even if the Lord doesn't bless us with getting to see themoose, at least He blessed us withThe Adventure of the Moose Chaseand the memory this will make for us thatwe will never forget!"We were all having such fun, that we all agreed that was enough of a blessing in itself. We headed all the way back down the primitive road to the pavement, put it back in 2wd, hit the interstate in the other direction, got off at the very exit that I had been wondering if I could find amooseat, turned around down the interstate as slowly as the law would allow,turned on our hazards, so that everyone would pass us, and prayed that themoosewould still be there, now some 20 minutes later. I said,"I hope themooseis still there!" Nevan said, "don't say 'I hope' themooseis still there, say 'when we see themoose'.You gotta have faith!".
So, we were driving slowly, verbalizing our faith that we would see themoose. "When we see themoose, we'll take pictures!" "Was themoosewe are going to see a boy or a girl?" "I can't wait to see themoose!" "Thatmoosemust sure be hungry to still be sitting there eating while it waits for us!" OF COURSE, my telephoto lens was already on my camera, just because I knew we were inmoose country. Because
if you go to the beach, you have your sunglasses on.
If you go to the moon, you have your spacesuit on.
If you go tomoose country, you have your telephoto lens on.
It is just the way it is,
and everybody knows it.
Just in exactly the spot I had sighted her 20 minutes and 2/3 of an adventure earlier, was our
It amazes me that I never named her. It never occurred to me until now.
Her name is Mossy. Mossy Moose.
No sooner did we stop the car, than what
Of coursemoose mosey.
What else would they do?
It could be said that she left because we pulled up and spooked her, but she was in no big hurry. I like to believe that she didn't leave because she was spooked, but because she had been ready to go all along and wasjust waiting for us, holding out to answer our heartfelt prayers. Because it was special for my kids, but for me, it was evidence again, unnecessary and un-required, that I am loved.That even my most luxurious desires are known, and understood. That this very small thing to someone else was amonumental thing for me, and my Heavenly Father wanted for me to have it, even though I didn't need it to be happy,healthy, or comforted. Just to spoil me,because He loves me so much.And I do feel spoiled, in an edifying, loved way. My run-on sentence prayers are heard, and returned with run-on blessings. And the kids know me. They know I'm crazy-- no surprises there for them. So, when I got choked up, they simply said, "Mom, you are so happy that you're crying!" And I was. Because I figured out that lady on the boat. It wasn't the sight of the whales that made it one of the best days of her life, it was the luxury of the blessing, unneeded, un-required, but poured out to fill her with pure joy. It was the love attached to such luxurious blessing. It was all about the love. I took only 8 photos, and I am excited about them, but honestly, even though it is special to have self-shot photos of amoose, it is the memory of the experience, and the true Tender Mercy of the Lord that it was for me, that the photos will always bring to mind, that I will cherish most. Hopefully, even Alzheimer's couldn't take that knowledge and feeling away. All amazed, awed, and grateful, we set on our way. I had forgotten that we were out of gas. Nevan reminded me... right AFTER we passed the exit for a station.
He asked, "How low are we on gas?" I said, "we are in the red." He said, "how far to the next station?" I said, "no idea. I forgot about the gas-- all I was thinking about was the moose!" Then I added, "but it isn't 'I hope' we make it to the station, it is 'when we get to the station!'" And we proceeded on with our conversation about when we got to the station, and what we would do. "When we get to the station, we will pump the gas!" "When we get to the station, we will wash the windshield!" "When we get to the station, we will go to the bathroom!" "When we get to the station, we will look for postcards for Dad!" "When we get to the station, we will all get drinks!" And when we got to the station, we did all of those things. I hope I can follow Nevan's example, and Christ's teaching, to "Be not afraid, but believe." That, and that I gain an ounce of humility, and not begrudge any mooseglimpser, ever again. So, this started as a quick road trip update, and ended as an insight into my mind, my run-on sentence prayers, and the frequency that my brain hits upon the subject of Alzheimer's, which, if I have it, I can't remember. Hope you enjoyed the journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you. :)