Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Hearing about friends’ high desert explorations this morning triggered memories of our Nevada years. We were surrounded by BLM land and enjoyed outdoor freedom we’ve never experienced elsewhere. I miss the wide-open space and wildlife—I loved listening to the coyotes every night. Now we hear sirens…not quite as peaceful…
I walked by myself almost every night in Nevada. There were no people noises, the stars were endless. We lived in a small, safe community, I never worried about strangers. One evening I walked the mile into town to return a movie—the moon wasn’t visible, there were no street lights, all I could see were stars.
As I walked home, I realized someone was following me, a few yards parallel in the desert. Every time I stopped to listen, they stopped. I couldn’t see anything through the darkness, and yes, I was terrified.
I crossed the road and started jogging—noises from the other side increased, they were jogging too. My neighborhood was a quarter mile away, and I began to run, expecting to be attacked, imagining horrible scenarios. My follower never crossed the road, but I heard its footsteps in sync with mine.
I reached the safety of street lights and houses, stopping to stare into the darkness—I saw nothing. Arriving home, I regaled my family with my escape from horrors unknown—they were suitably worried and impressed, although I’m not sure they believed me.
After a sleepless night, I returned to the scene of terror and searched for footprints in the desert. My sleuthing was rewarded…a single set of hoof prints paralleled my night-time pathway, their distance apart changing as the wild horse altered its speed to match mine.
The hills around us supported several wild herds—I assume one horse was on its own and lonely. Maybe a young male kicked out by the stallion… I’ll never know what the horse thought of our “almost” encounter. It was probably thrilled to have someone to play with and disappointed in the weak nature of humans. Not one of my stellar moments…trust me, I have had some :)