Monday, June 6, 2016

The Wookie Whisperer: Not Home Alone

(This is installment #1 of a real-life Bigfoot habituation situation in the Midwest and the man who has learned to coexist in a most playful and remarkable way).

After having enough of humans and their issues, Dave came across the perfect place to leave humanity behind; an isolated 10 acre lot with a home, far from neighbors, lots of trees, a pond, and a dream place to hunt, fish, and heal.

All he wanted was to not be bothered.

In fact, as he rolled up in his truck to move in to his new Midwestern getaway, even the air smelled better, the light seemed brighter, the trees seemed taller. Perhaps it was just pride of ownership in this tiny slice of wildlife, but it was just what the doctor ordered for his weatherworn soul.

It wasn’t long before Dave was settled into his routine on his acreage. He cut wood, stored it in the basement, got in some good hunting, and grew a garden.

Evenings, he spent on the deck, just listening to the sounds of his woods; crickets, tree frogs, whippoorwills, and way too many owls. Come to think of it, the coyotes seemed to be in large groups – almost 20 in a pack. He figured he just needed time to get used to the wildlife activity of his happy haven.

As he finished his beer one evening, Dave tilted his head back to listen. For being a lifelong man of the woods, this sound was something new to him. It definitely didn’t belong there. Sounded like a whoop into a howl into a fire engine siren. It was near the creek where there could be no fire truck.

He squinted at the darkened forest as he pondered the source of the sound, when it trailed off. He shook his head and went back inside for the night.

Dave tended his garden in the summer, but something kept stealing his tomatoes. He cursed and shook a fist, imagining the raccoons depriving him of some good mayo and tomato sandwiches on white bread.

Dang critters!

Over the months, he hauled the bodies of some small animals that died on the property and also some that he had to take down that kept stealing the goat’s feed. He carried the bodies down the dead end of the road, hoping to maybe deter anyone from deciding to set their car out there and party on a lonely night.

It didn’t pass Dave's notice that when he dumped bodies, they were gone the next day.

Dave scratched his forehead with his thumb and squinted at the mosquitoes whirling around an old puddle and wondered about what predator was scavenging the kills. There were no bones, so it must have dragged them off.

One day, years after being settled in, Dave went to do his routine collection of cut wood up on the ridge. He drove his truck up there, preparing to do a U-turn on the path to toss the newly cut wood into the bed of the truck when something caught his eye near the woods.

There was a tall figure standing out there, seemed to have its back to him, as he could not make out a detail of the face or clothing, just one dark mass. He felt a strange shiver of recognition. It wasn’t a person. It certainly wasn’t a bear standing there.

Then, recalling he was turning his truck around, Dave looked in front of him to be sure he was headed in the right direction and by the time he looked back, the figure was gone.

He loaded up only half a load of the wood, cautiously glancing toward that spot, knowing that he had just seen something he never imagined he’d run into in all of his lifetime of hunting and fishing, a Bigfoot.

Suddenly a light bulb went on in his head and Dave recalled the dead critters taken away, the strange sounds in the woods around his house and the feeling of being watched, small items removed from the yard, and turned around, placed in a different spot, and then there was that deer he killed one time….
He had been hunting and shot a deer and it ambled deeper into the woods. Dave followed the trail of blood to where the body appeared to have fallen, only there was nothing there but a swirling pattern on the forest floor undergrowth. He had looked around everywhere, finding no more blood drops or signs of where it had gone. Where the hell did it go?
That incident haunted Dave for a long time, as did another time he had a deer hanging upside down from a limb near the barn. The deer’s hind feet were about 8 feet off the ground, the front end about 4 feet off the ground. When he came back to it, he found the loins were ripped out! There wasn’t much left, so Dave had thrown the carcass away. At the time, he couldn’t imagine any coyote being able to maneuver that length of deer hanging up.

Looking back, another mystery was solved; his mulberry tree dilemma. Dave was disappointed to find that as soon as the berries ripened, the tree was stripped up to about 12 feet off the ground as if someone had carried a ladder in there and gotten as much as they could from the places they could reach. Only, now Dave knew this thief didn’t need a ladder!

After he had his sighting, Dave pulled his truck up to his house and started unloading the wood. He wasn’t sure how he felt about sharing his land with anyone, much less feral, tall, smelly folks.

He reasoned to himself that maybe it kept far away from homes and such. If he was lucky, it gave him a wide berth. He sure as hell knew he didn’t need any more drama in his life. He settled in for a quiet country life and he was gonna freaking have it!

The sighting haunted him, so Dave went back up there to see if he could find prints or some verification of the size of the figure. The berry brambles had come up to its waist. When Dave stood there and noted the tilt of the land where it had been standing, the figure was not the 6 feet he imagined, but well over 8 feet tall!
And then, one day soon after, his coon dog Boomer jumped the fencing and headed out into the woods. A while later, his dog arrived at the door, tail wagging, wanting back in.

Dave opened the door to the most godawful smell. He pushed the dog back outside. It smelled of heavy sweating horses, something having been burned, and skunk. The dog looked well and happy to see him as usual, but good Lord, he stank!

It was the middle of the night and Boomer was used to sleeping inside, so there was nothing to do but give him a bath. Luckily, the smell did come out.

Lifting his head and looking out to the woods then back down at his friendly dog that greeted everyone, something clicked inside of Dave. Boomer likely happily approached one of those smelly tall fellas. Instead of eating Boomer, as they could easily do with their size and power, they had petted him. They loved dogs too!


Well, if the Native People could coexist with these Wookies, he sure as hell could. And, the best way he knew of to open a friendship and trust was to break bread….

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