Within a couple days of our arrival in Homer, Hans and I took a walk down a residential street. It was fairly late, after 10 pm at least, but in May it never gets that dark. Night just seems to cover the hills and streets like gray gauze. We walked and talked, the houses getting further and further apart, and soon the paved street merged into a dirt road. Only after we noticed that the road was quickly become nothing more than a dirt path did we stop and take serious note of our surroundings. We realized then that we had wandered into a herd of moose, at least 20 of them, both mothers and children, quietly cropping stubby grass and vibrant wildflowers. They paid us no heed at all. Hans and I became silent then, and backed our way out of the herd.
This was my first sighting of moose, but certainly not my last that summer. It wasn’t unusual to be driving down the main street of Homer only to be stopped by a moose, strolling casually along the yellow lines in the middle of the street like a burnt out tight-rope walker. The blasting of a car horn had no effect.
My favorite moose story came from a Japanese immigrant at Seward Fisheries, the place I worked. Over lunch break, she told me that one morning she walked to the end of the street to check her mail. (All the mail boxes were clustered at the corner). She had left her front door open. When she came back, a fully-grown moose stood in her living room munching on a house plant. The woman didn’t try to shoo it out; it’s not like it was a stray cat. She just waited outside until the moose had eaten every plant in the house. Once the moose finished, she wandered back outside and lumbered into the woods. Over a bite of pasta, the Japanese immigrant finished her tale with, “Luckily, she didn’t poo on my rug.”