MAGICAL MOOSE

Like many owners of small country properties, I wanted to give our place a name. One night it came to me in a dream. I was so excited I woke Darcy out of a sound sleep to tell him, ?Loose Moose Acres!?

?Huh?? he mumbled sleepily, glaring at me out of one half-open eye.

?Loose Moose Acres, that?s the name for our place!?

He didn?t like it. Didn?t like the acres. We tried coupling Loose Moose with glen (but we weren?t a narrow hidden valley), meadows (too much like the name of a care-home), farm (no fields to speak of) and even estate (way too pretentious).

If the word ?moose? never appears on a sign at the end our driveway, the likeness of a moose can certainly be found throughout our house. We have moose on our towels, moose on our pot holders, we even have the odd moose galloping across our dishes.

Once a friend phoned to say she had spotted the perfect bedding for our log cabin home. Blankets with black bears on them. I told her I only collect things with a moose motif. ?Bears kill people,? I explained. ?How do you expect me to sleep with bears all over my blanket??

?Moose kill people too,? she argued. ?They kill people everyday.?

After I hung up I looked over at the moose standing on his hind legs, firmly attached to the paper towel holder. His brown glass eyes looked reassuringly into mine. Not my moose, I told myself. Not even on Mondays.

Then, early Sunday morning, I awoke to a most amazing sight. There, perfectly framed in our window, was a real live moose munching on some Saskatoon bushes. I woke up Darcy and we stood at the window watching as the moose hoovered up an entire Saskatoon bush. It was magical.

The next day I discovered our moose didn?t just like Saskatoon bushes, he liked horse hay too and plenty of it. We told ourselves that it was a small price to pay for the magic of a moose. On Tuesday morning Darcy almost hit Magic Moose with his truck when he unexpectedly sped across the driveway as Darcy was heading off to work.

On Thursday I took the toboggan out to the wood pile to get some wood and there stood Magic Moose mere metres away. I stopped. The moose kept on mouthing the willows, watching me watching him. I waited for him to run away. He didn?t. I thought about running away, but it was cold in the house and I really needed to get some wood.

?Shoo along, Magic Moose.? I whispered.

Magic Moose refused to shoo. In an act of bravery, or incredible stupidity, I advanced slowly on the woodpile. I started loading my toboggan one piece of poplar at a time, keeping a wary eye on the moose. I thought about how scary this was. I thought about how great this was. I thought about how strange this was. Why wouldn?t the moose run? Then I thought about how the sound of the dry pieces of wood hitting each other as I tossed them onto the toboggan sounded remarkably like antlers when they clash. In a fight. A moose fight. Probably a bad one. I remembered seeing an episode on the Discovery Channel where a man banged a pair of antlers together to attract an enraged moose. Maybe it was my imagination, but when I looked up, Magic Moose seemed to take a fierce step in my direction. Toboggan bouncing wildly behind me, I fled for the house with my meager load. Every time I peeked through the blind, the moose was still there. Grimly I rationed out the firewood, wrapped myself in a blanket – moose motif firmly facing in – and waited.

?I?m thinking of collecting rabbit stuff instead.? I told Darcy, on the morning Magical Moose finally left. ?There?s a nice harmless animal for you. Maybe we can come up with a name for our property based on a rabbit.?

Darcy set down his paper. ?Are you really suggesting we call our place the Bunny Farm??

So we continue to simply call our place home, which isn?t bad. Especially since the moose no longer does.

To see a picture of Magic Moose visit Shannon online at www.shannonmckinnon.com