Life in the Woods


When my family moved out here, into the woods, we were pretty excited about connecting with nature. We had always lived in either a city or suburb.

Now here we were, moving out to the woods. Way out into the woods. When we first moved in, the local phone number was only 4 digits.

The roads were dirt. There were no streetlights or sidewalks.

Life was pretty….country. Yep. Pretty countryish.

Now that I’ve lived here for just shy of three decades, you’d think I would have come to terms with the rural nature.

Only I haven’t.

I mean, I am delighted when I see a few deer crossing the street. I love seeing the local foxes as they play in the fields. I love watching the hawks, and the ducks and the rare but exciting bald eagle as they fly over us.

But you know what?

I’m still a big woos when it comes to strange movements in the woods.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Last night, at right about 1 AM, we woke up because both of our super-domesticated-not-at-all-wild dogs were whimpering and whining. They wanted to go out.

It was my turn to get up, so I did.

I trudged into the dining room, cell phone light in hand, and opened the slider door. Both of my canine fools went hurtling out into the night, full on baying like bloodhounds.

They raced along the fence in our yard, big noses pointed into the woods.

I stood on the deck, thinking, “What? What’s out there?????”

Now the truth is that we live in central Massachusetts. The scariest thing in our forest is most likely a big fat raccoon.

Still, my tiny brain got all excited by the dogs’ reactions. Bears? Bobcat? Moose? I wasn’t sure, but my heart was definitely racing.

I went back to bed, thinking to myself, “Wow, we really do live out in the wilderness! It could be anything out there!”

I went to sleep thinking about how fabulous it is to live out in the wilderness.

Yay, me. Such a pioneer woman!

Then I woke up.

To the sound of the dogs, screaming and going insane over the sounds in the back woods. I went out onto the deck and peered into the woods.

Nothing.

After two cups of coffee, a shower and a perusal of the news, the dogs were still hysterically barking into the woods.

I went back onto the deck. “Woods,” I told myself. “Nice, clean woods. Yay.”

Two hours went by. I gave the kids breakfast, read a book, cleaned up the table and got out trains and tracks.

The dogs were still running from the front fence to the back deck to the sofa and back again. Baying and moaning and barking and yowling the whole time.

Oh, hoorah. Life in the godforsaken, stupid, crappy woods.

After another hour of this insanity, I realized that the neighbor dogs were barking, too.

“A bear?”, I thought to myself. “Maybe there’s a bear family on their way here.”

I got very excited. I perched on the deck, camera in hand. I waited. The dogs raced and barked and yowled.

I waited some more.

After a while, I saw a chipmunk break free from the stone wall around my flower bed. He ran into the woods.

The dogs acted like they’d uncovered a T Rex.

Seriously?

I moved out to the woods, to a place where you can’t get phone reception, where the closest grocery store is a half hour away, all because the dogs can’t resist a freakin’ CHIPMUNK?

Clearly, I was not cut out to be a country girl.

“Did you hear that? Did you smell that? What IS that????”

14 thoughts on “Life in the Woods

  1. Haha! You know, I bet there was something there and the chipmunk is just getting credit because it appeared on the scene. Do you have any feline related animals living around there. Other than a bear, my guess would be something along the lines of a big cat to set them off for such a long time. Glad they don’t actually have access to “the woods” though. They may not turn out so well…

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    • We do have a local bobcat, but he usually just moves on through. A big crew of deer went by just after I posted this, so my guess is that they were out there all day. I just wish it was a bear!

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  2. We live in a town with woods… a State Forest very close by, and over the years in the area we’ve seen a bear, a big cat, otters, beavers, and all the others mentioned . We live next door to a very yappy little dog, and, in season, there are always plenty of chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and birds (sometimes including turkeys) romping around the yard. The only thing that the dogs saw that really spooked them was a snake. They generally dont even bark at any of the regular small animals. I guess they’re just not barkers.

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    • We’re right near a state forest, too, so there are acres of woods around us. We used to see moose regularly, but they seem to have moved a bit further on since a street was built behind us and across the pond. We do have a local bobcat, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see him. My dogs are goofy enough to bark all day at the local chipmunks, so if we ever get attacked by zombies, we won’t even know to be alarmed!!!

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