Taking a Woman Into the WildPosted: September 4, 2012
As we all know, I work a VERY late shift. Come around 3am I go for a run. After the run I’ll do a deck of cards. Then 4am my boy A-Lo goes for his. I’m not going into the deck of cards, that’s some military shit. Well, I do 2 miles. A-lo does 3. Fuck you, I’m 38 and he’s 26. We run the same route. For the purpose of clarity I must explain this: the route is along a back road on base. It’s pretty much 4 quarter mile stretches.
1- The Hospital and Base Housing. It’s well lit and pretty tame. To the left is the Hospital, on my right are some bungalows and unfenced forest.
2- The ammo dump and unfenced forest. The ammo dump is fenced in and I see deer in there every time I run. It’s not too bad.
3- Fangorn Forest and the golf course. Once you clear ammo dump, the fences go away, it’s dimly lit, and the forest is about 6 feet from the road. This is where I stay on HIGH ALERT
4- The base storage fence-line and softball field. At the corner before the softball field there’s an open field, then the softball field at the end of the softball field I turn around and run back.
Well, I always head to the ER before running to make sure they aren’t busy. So, one night one of the ER nurses stopped me after I dropped off a PT and asked me if I were running that night and when I told her I was, she asked if she could join me. The nurse is a 25 yo LT Junior Grade. She came to Radiology around 0250 and I had just finished changing into PT gear. I grabbed my phone and we headed to the pharmacy. As we were getting ready to begin she looked at me oddly and asked if I ran without listening to music. I kind made a weird face and explained, “When it’s 3am, dark, and I’m basically in a forest….YES!!!” She asked why and I looked at her oddly. “Where are you from LT?” Well, she’s from Chicago. LOL. I nodded and sighed. I explained to her that I need to keep my ears on the forest to know if something is out there that could hurt me. She honestly did not understand WHY I would need to listen. I just started running and of course she followed. I guess she could see my eyes and head moving around constantly and eventually she took her ear-buds out. I told her that she’d probably have a difficult time discerning the noises since she just blasted her ears. When we finally got to the ammo dump, out came the knife. She asked if I REALLY thought I needed it. When I brought up the whole problem with wild hogs being most active at night, black bears, bobcats, cougars, and general psychos warrant the knife. Well about 2-3 minutes into the ammo dump I stopped and was looking to my 11 o’clock. She asked what I was looking at. There was a fawn about 30 feet away. I caught the movement suddenly and I froze. Once I knew it was a deer and told LT, she squealed happily, “WHERE!!!!” And off the deer ran. I shook my head and continued running. Once we got to Fangorn I was on ULTRA ALERT. By this time she had mentioned that this area was pretty spooky. I had us in the dead center of a 2 lane road. I spotted a raccoon that scurried back into the golf course. LT thought it was a cat. Silly girl. When we got to the softball field I spotted a full grown doe. I saw it from about 50 feet away. When we were about perpendicular to it I pointed it out. She had NO CLUE it was there. We stopped and surprisingly, it didn’t run. I walked about 10 feet toward it and it didn’t budge. LT asked my why it wasn’t running and I assumed it was because it’s used to seeing humans. Then I told her that we were the only thing that’s a threat to her and she wondered how I knew that.
“Well, dears can rotate their ears 360 degrees. Her ears are both pinned on us. If she were tracking anything else that other ear would be moving. We continued moving. As we made our 2nd pass through Fangorn, out of nowhere, the crickets stopped and there was dead silence.
ANYONE that knows ANYTHING about being in the forest knows this is not cool. I stopped and scanned the tree line of Fangorn. I started walking slowly, and LT asked what I saw. I looked at her and made the “be quite” gesture of putting my finger on my lips. Then I made the “listen” signal. Finally there was a rustling in the brushes about 10 feet in front of us about 2 feet high. It was probably a raccoon or a possum. I continued running and she asked how I knew it wasn’t a threat. I explained that I didn’t smell anything that smelled unusual and if something WERE going to charge, it wouldn’t do it until we started moving. The rest of the run went with me explaining the sounds and what not.
When we finished running she asked me. “Ok HM1, let’s say something DID rush us. What would you do?” I laughed and told her, “I have a BETTER question for you LT what would YOU have done had something rushed you and I WASN’T there. Now she runs that route sometimes too. She answered that she really didn’t know. That she’d probably hope to be able to run away from it. I laughed my ass off and gestured a headline, “Dead LT found mauled on golf course”. Then I explained she’d NEVER outrun any one of the animals that were chasing her. Then she went back to what I WOULD DO. I told her I’d take that knife and get ready for some pain. I explained how you deal with a bear; I explained how to dispatch a charging boar, and how to best avoid an attack by a cougar. When she mentioned I might get killed, I told her, “Yeah….but that’s a GOOD death. You know what scares me LT? Being 80, in an ICU, tubes in every orifice and you wiping my ass. Actually, you wiping my ass would be hot.” She laughed and said it must be a guy thing. I told her no, it was my job. Then she asked what exactly this “job” was. And I dropped Yohami’s line.
“I kill scary monsters.” I winked at her, and she said she’s proabably run away screaming as I was fighting some wild animal. And I laughed and told her, “Of course you would, that’s YOUR job.” and with that, I walked back to Radiology
Look, I grew up in the forest for most of my childhood. My dad’s Dad is Houma Indian and taught me all about being in the Woods, and wilderness survival, how to track animals, how to find food. It was GREAT. I told the LT how unwise it was for a 25 yo woman to run on a dark base with headphones on. I ran into her a few days later and she thanks me for scaring the shit out of her and how she doesn’t like running alone at night. I just stared at her and said, “Good.” And walked off. Ain’t they cute when they’re young?
Meeting up with my boy Carl tonight to have a beer and plan a weekend Deer hunt.
WOOOHOO!!!! LIVE ACTION!!!!!!!!