I thought I'd finish out the week with animal stories, having been reminded by the porcupines of yesterday. Nothing to do with writing except that walking is my inspiration time each day.

Story #1 happened last summer. MId-morning I walk to the end of our property, about half a mile, cross a small woods, and return home. It's pretty much the same route every day, and that doesn't bother me in the least. There's always something new to see.

On a particular day, I heard the sound of a 4-wheeler in the woods as I approached and deduced from past experience that my niece was riding the trail. Soon I heard squeals of girlish laughter and figured out that there were two of them having a great time. What none of us knew was the our tiny herd of itinerant elk were in the woods, between the 4-wheeler girls and the walking woman. Startled by the noisy machine and possibly noisier girls, a half dozen elk ran the opposite way from the girls ... right at me.

I was maybe ten feet into the woods when they came on the run. One was headed directly at me, head tipped back the way elk have to do to get through the trees with those HUGE anters. Not being a particularly quick thinker, I froze. Worst Case Scenarios doesn't have advice on how to avoid a thousand pounds of Venizon Major bearing down on you, unaware of anything but his desire to escape. When the elk was close enough that I could count his nostril hairs, he lowered his head enough to see me before him. He swerved wildly to the side, missing me by a few feet.

As he crashed through the brush and into a nearby cornfield, I waited to see if my heart was going to return to its proper position or just stop. At that point my niece and her friend pulled up, laughing and excited. "Did you see the elk, Aunt Peg?" she asked. "How big were the antlers?"

I wasn't sure, but I thought it was a fifty-five pointer. Maybe even fifty-six.

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