Plot Twists from Animal Encounters, Part 6, Ontario Moose

Plot twists for us writers are the unexpected. Continuing with real unexpected animals encounters we have had, on to Canadian moose.

When we lived in Western NY, we Carlsons lived for our one week of camping each year in Algonquin Park, Ontario. Often along the only road through the park, highway 60, there were moose sightings.

Moose are huge mammals with legs that go all the way down to the ground. Gorgeous. Regal. Majestic animals. Drivers would pull their cars to the shoulder of the road, retrieve their binoculars (everyone in the park carried binoculars in their vehicles) and watch the moose who came near the road where it had been salted in the wintertime. Yummy salt! During our ten visits to the park, we usually stopped at least one moose each visit  along Highway 60. But without a doubt, it was more thrilling to see them closer up, when we hiked trails through the woods.

Once, on a new-that-summer trail I nearly bumped into a cow (female moose). The wild animals were still used to that section being their territory and human-free. I was in the lead of our little band of travelers, and didn’t even see her until I was about twenty feet away when Jeff whispered to stop. The four of us stood silently watching it eat, fearless of the four humans so near. We recognized the potential power of beast, and the damage which antlers and teeth and hooves of a frightened or angry moose could do. But once we spotted it (and were fully aware that she, too, was aware of our presence), we didn’t want to move for fear it would spook her. So the four of us stood silent, watching this massive animal eat for many minutes.

All of a sudden it perked up her head and straightened up, ears pointed in our direction. We knew it couldn’t have been us Carlsons. We were more silent than the pines. So we, too,  became alert and listened. I didn’t hear anything, but the moose turned from us and trotted away, disappearing into the wilderness. We remained standing where we were, stunned and speechless from witnessing such a majestic creature for so long and so close.

A couple of minutes later two men and a dog on a leash came along the trail from behind us. We were so silent and still that our presence startled them, but they smiled and said hi as they passed. I was going to say something, but even if I had managed to speak, all I might have said would have been, “Moose. Dog.”

I suppose this incident might also be an example of characterization – reactions (or non-reactions) to a circumstance (plot twist). There are characters and plots and circumstances all around each of us. Look for them. Feel them. Write about them. Maybe place your own characters in a similar situation. Good writing.


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