My dog Jack gets two walks every day. I like to support his effort to pee on every square inch of the neighborhood. The recent time change means that our morning walks are conducted in the dark. I’m not sure which is worse, being able to see the possibly rabid animals that inhabit our neighborhood, or just imagining them.
Foxes are doing really well around our house. We see them nearly every day. I used to be so enamored with them, especially when they constructed a whelping den under my neighbor’s front porch. I would stealthily watch the babies play and learn to hunt, using binoculars and patience – a lot like Jane Goodall. But lately, the foxes are not as afraid of me as I would like. They don’t run away when they see us coming, or even when I make sudden noises at them. This scares me a bit. Sometimes I carry a stick on our walks to fend off any potential attacks.
Jack doesn’t really notice the foxes or other critters. I’ve never had his vision tested, but he really misses a lot of action. Rabbits running across our path do not deter Jack from his mission to pee on every square inch of the neighborhood. And unless they are making one of their awful noises, he rarely notices the foxes, despite the fact that they are the same size if not larger than him.
This morning, because of the recent time change, every shrub took on the shape of a coyote or a rabid raccoon. The rustling of birds sounded more like the scritch scratching of rats. I even started constructing some paranormal plot lines. And then I noticed the flashing yellow lights. A school bus, I thought. Then, no, possibly a cement mixer on a tow truck. Wait. What the heck was that? The mystery vehicle turned up our street and I pulled on the leash, forcing Jack to abandon his efforts to pee on every square inch of the neighborhood, so we could try and catch another glimpse.
A space shuttle? A rocket? It pulled in to the elementary school parking lot beyond our house. Jack definitely saw it and was a little disturbed by the flashing lights and loud engine, but I continued to drag him along with me, eager to find out what this thing, no longer just a figment of my imagination, was. Definitely a space ship. No. Really. Evidently it’s “Space Ship Day” at the local school, and this thing on the tow truck was a space ship simulator. How many bake sales must it have taken to fund this? (And are the neighbors invited?)
Jack and I returned from our walk and I told my husband about the space ship. His bemused expression, most likely the result of some of my other imagined sightings, told me he did not believe the story. Fortunately, I bring my cell phone with me on these dark, early morning walks. (You never know when you might need to call 911 or Animal Control.) I was able to photograph the space ship before it took off.