Did you know that not all danger is limited to ground level? It’s true. That’s why I like to keep an eye on the sky, too.
My first memory of things that fly is from the days of my puppy walks, just after Elizabeth brought me to Keewatin. We went for walks along the wide gravel road, and one day, I remember seeing – and hearing! – a lot of big black flying creatures flapping around and sitting in the trees on one side of the road. There were all black ones that croaked and gronked, and there were much bigger ones with white heads that made loud chee-chee-chee noises. They would fly up to the tall whispery trees [trembling aspens] from across a little inlet and back. I could smell something interesting on the breeze. It seemed to be what they were interested in, too.
I was just little then, and the big black flying creatures made me a bit nervous. I wasn’t too scared, ’cause my two-legger was with me. But I wouldn’t want to be alone with one of those big white headed ones! It fascinated me, though, how they stayed up in the air like that….
Winter came, and I remember chasing the all black flying creatures’ shadows across the white snow. They moved fast, and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up – or at least close!
In the spring, two of the big white heads started hanging around. They talked to each other a lot, and sometimes I saw them with long sticks in their yellow, pointy mouths. I liked watching them. I thought, Anyone who can carry long sticks like that AND stay up in the air at the same time demands a little respect!
I like sticks a lot, too. But if I pick up long ones like that and try to take them anywhere, they seem to get tangled up in bushes I pass along the way. Those flying creatures… they’ve got the right idea!
I was watching one – no stick this time – from one of my favourite rocks one spring day as Elizabeth puttered around digging the ground up. It flew around in a circle, high up, hardly flapping its flappers at all. Fascinating! Then all of a sudden, I noticed it was getting awfully close to me awfully fast! It was diving straight at me!
“WOOF!” I warned it. Look out, you flapping creature! You’re going to crash right into me!
I’d warned it nicely, but it wouldn’t listen to me; it kept coming. So, I did the only thing I could do. I taught it a lesson!
I leapt straight up at it. I didn’t say anything – no time for words – but my look told it everything it needed to know: BACK OFF!
And it did. Its flappers spread out and it stopped in mid-air. I felt the wind as it flapped once, twice, and then flew away.
I came back to tell Elizabeth about my adventure. But she’d seen it all happen, and she seemed pretty impressed with me. She gave me a big hug and a scratch behind my ear.
And those white heads? They don’t mess with me anymore!