In the Medicine Wheel, the Moose is my Totem Animal in the East. I am a ‘white woman’ now but have lived several Indigenous lives with loved ones on this North American continent, both in male and female forms. (It’s fine if you don’t believe that.)
Mother Nature has gifted me with many sightings and encounters with Moose throughout my years when living in Northeastern Ontario. I am deeply grateful for having those experiences.
Great To Be Alive…
Some years ago, my Husband, Roger, and I journeyed to the Lady Evelyn and Smoothwater Lakes by canoe, having entered the winding access river off of the Beauty Lake Road.
I was filled with thoughts about ‘timing’ just before our little electric motor died, then later after a portage in rough waters, my paddle split down the middle of the bottom half. It happened at the mouth of Smoothwater, a crystal clear lake renowned for sudden high waves and drownings. The wind was threatening and against us so we paddled closer to shore. It suited my mood and the desire to live a solitary life once the children were out of the nest.
When we stopped to pitch tent on a beach, I went to gather sticks for our fire. Some distance away from camp, with my aching arms full, I stood quietly looking at my beautiful, wild surroundings. I was overcome with a wonderful feeling of how great it was to be alive. My concerns and worries dissolved in those few minutes of contemplation.
Just as I returned to camp, Roger and I heard a very loud, crashing sound. There, on the very spot of the shoreline where I had just stood, a Bull Moose appeared as if running for its life, went straight into the water and swam as fast as it could toward the distant shore. He was a magnificent sight to behold.
Then, just moments later, a large Grey Wolf appeared on that very same spot. It watched the Moose intently, hungry and having lost its prey. Then it turned to stare directly at us. That stare pierced my mind and heart. I, truly, felt the Call of the Wild.
What a thrill and honour to see both of these amazing creatures!!
Moose In Paradise…
Years ago, my Dad, Aunt and Uncle and I went on a day trip fishing in Dad’s 12 foot aluminum boat. It was another of several of my journeys into the Lady Evelyn, Dufferin and Smoothwater Lakes where I often saw Moose, Bears and many species of wildlife. My Uncle remarked that it looked as if I’d just entered into Paradise.
On that particular day, my Aunt and I encountered a towering Bull Moose with a heavy rack just a few short yards from our path. We all stopped suddenly. My Aunt, Helen, pulled out her belted knife and I said softly, “Please put that away and don’t move.”
The Moose stood staunchly appraising us for several minutes, then turned back, trustingly, into the bush. We sighed with relief. Then I chuckled with great respect for my wonderful Totem Animal of the East.
Saved By A Moose…
During my late teens, I had another memorable experience with a formidable Bull Moose. To this day, I believe that creature of Mother Nature was Heaven-sent to save me from a potential rape when I prayed for help.
A young man who was dating my cousin in Southern Ontario made a surprise visit to my family home one summer day. He wanted me to take him for a day of fishing. Dad suggested I take him to Lone Wolf Lake, north, towards the Arctic Watershed sign.
I recall the strange thought, ‘I’ll give him a memory he won’t soon forget,’ then wondered why I’d thought that thought.
Off we went on our adventure.
It was a hot, sunny day with swarms of mosquitoes and blackflies all around us as we threw our baited lines into the water. Within minutes, I discovered that I was the bait. Our visitor gave me a ravenous, unwelcomed kiss. I said to the mosquitoes and blackflies, “Oh, oh! What next!” When I looked deep into his eyes, I saw he was being tempted to rape me. I must have made a desperate mental call, a prayer to God, to Mother Nature, to the Angels, because just then a gigantic Bull Moose came charging out of the bush and stood very close to where we were. I had the sudden instinct to drop my fishing rod and run towards the Moose. He turned swiftly and headed back into the bush running, with me chasing after him, unarmed, like a crazy, wild woman. I had a distinctly wolfish, predatory feeling all through this strange experience. The southern visitor began chasing after me too but was slow to catch up. Then the strange feeling passed and I finally stopped, leaving that blessed Moose to its solitary run deeper into the wilderness.
My visitor caught up. He had a frightened, sheepish look in his eyes now. I said, “It’s time to leave.” We didn’t talk on the way back to Kirkland Lake and I heard he headed back south immediately.
I didn’t speak of this experience for many years but chuckled to myself whenever it came to mind. In a family of Moose Hunters, I was saved by a Moose…
(True stories of Northeastern Ontario retold November 2, 2021)
Thank you Mother Nature!