Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wildlife - the outdoor kind

We got buzzed by a red-tailed hawk on our way home from church today. Yes, I'm sure that's what it was - he flew across the road at eye-level not 20 feet in front of the car, and flashed his red tail at us.

When I moved here from Idaho, 19 years ago (!!!!), it was not without trepidation. Growing up in the West (and I mean WEST, like, cowboys, cows, wide open spaces), and then going to school on the East Coast makes you very aware of your roots. Like, "this is Ann. She's from Idaho." In my case, that became a very integral part of me. Mountains, camping, knowing about cows and farming (not that my dad was a rancher or farmer). It mostly didn't matter how much I knew, I knew more than those city kids, so I was the de facto expert.

And to move to New Jersey.... New Jersey! Land of highways and oil refineries and "what exit"? You gotta be kidding me! It's amazing what love will convince you to do. I went looking for apartments on a scouting trip in March, and came home in tears, convinced we were doomed to a nasty little hole-in-the-wall in a huge complex of similar "garden" apartments. Fortunately, my husband found someplace better, in a charming town (think "Main Street, USA). We used to walk downtown for dinner every Friday night in the summer. Then we bought a charming little house in the same town, and walked downtown pushing a baby stroller every Friday night.

And now we have moved less than 5 miles away, and we have wildlife. Deer, rabbits, turkeys, foxes, hawks, owls (never seen one, but you can hear them!), and not too far away, bears are occasionally sighted. Not to mention more chipmunks and squirrels than you can shake a stick at. And the random coyote - yes, I'm sure, because I grew up in the West, remember? If I can find the picture, I have a shot of 25+ turkeys roosting on my children's' swing set. Really! I have more wildlife in my backyard here than I ever remember seeing growing up (except for one memorable evening I saw a moose in a field about 2 miles from my house. At first I thought, "that's one ugly horse!" Then I went and got a friend to confirm the sighting).

We've now lived here for 19 years. The long answer is, "I'm from Idaho, but I live in New Jersey." The short answer? "I'm from New Jersey."


Jill in MA said...

NJ really gets a bad rap, doesn't it? And just think your kids are really from NJ, just like me!! And they'll spend their lives defending their state.
Make sure to enjoy the Silver Queen corn and the beefsteak tomatoes, because they're the best in NJ!!

Susan Z said...

I really enjoyed reading this....although I haven't quite reached the same point in that I still say I am "originally" from Idaho. Of course, half the time I get asked about where I am from it is because I know people are probing to try to figure out my accent.