I am trying to keep illness at bay by, gasp, being healthy. Thus I have managed to walk the dogs twice this week already which is a new pathetic record. This morning I went down to the old park, the French Broad River Park but just as
Here's why I don't think they were dogs. I grant you that feral dogs or even perfectly non feral family dogs who have taken themselves for a fun jaunt are the most likely scenario at the heavily used river park in Asheville (we are not talking wilderness here, let's face it) but I really don't think these were dogs. They had that impression of wild animal that's hard to define but the minute I glimpsed them I thought wild animal, completely wild animal, unfamiliar wild animal. I put faith in that kind of instinctive reaction; I think our primitive brains add up clues more quickly than our reason.
And then feral dogs in this day and age almost always look more like pit bulls than anything else. Every feral or loose dog I've seen around here - and I've seen my fair share - has had either that tell tale pit look or a whole lot of hound. Even here in WNC where there's a strong ancestral collie strain, the pit bull genes have been hard at work. These animals did not look like pits nor did they look like collies: I have a collie. He does not have a profile or a tail like that.
Whatever species they were, Yoda says: frightened by us they were not. One ran back across the park and the other stood there and looked calmly at us for a while and I thought, you know what? I am going to go in completely the other direction today and leave the dogs on their leashes for a while. And so I did and when I came back they were gone.
It was a nice brush with mystery though and wildness and even a little fear; you can't help but think about rabies in those situations - well, I can't but then I'm neurotic, okay - and how much vets cost and so on. At the same time as the fear, though, there is something in this overly analytical overly populated semi urban 21st century existence of mine that responds with real awe to this kind of brush with wildness, this kind of quick glimpse into the hidden world that lives right up next to the one we see every day. It's a sort of vertigo, realizing that the surface we see is just part of the story and far, far from all. There are wild things, Horatio, right outside your window and we will never know where they came from or where they go.
Oh and yes, I know, these pictures are hopeless. That could be a yeti there or Bigfoot or a tyrannosaurus rex - they are the quintessential UFO photos, these photos and I apologize, but it was early and dark and the animals were far away and, okay, a National Geographic wildlife photographer I am not.