Thursday, January 22, 2009

Encounters With Nature

My "Safety on the Run" posting conjured up some funny running memories. However, they really weren't all that funny at the time. No amount of safety gear can prepare you (or spare you) from certain encounters, say for example, a goose attack.

A few years back, I got the great idea to run after work from my office building down to the local college and back. It's about a 5-mile run. It was winter at the time, and darkness came pretty early. I thought running right after work, from work, would help me beat nightfall.

All was good as I headed out of the building and up the hill through the parking lot of the building next door. A Canadian goose sitting on one of the parking-lot islands caught my eye. I thought nothing of it, since Greensboro seems to be the new winter vacationing spot for Canadian geese. As I turned my head back around from looking at the goose, what did I see ahead, but another goose in flight coming straight for me! It appeared to be a bit angry.

Suddenly dawned on me that the first goose I spotted was Mama and this dude headed straight at me was Papa! She was nesting and I guess I was too close for comfort. So, I turned around and decided to loop the parking lot to avoid a confrontation. Papa goose had different plans. Before I knew it, I felt the hardest wham on my back I've ever felt. Yep, Papa goose had slammed me in the back, head-on, in flight! I sped up and the dang bird did it again, this time making me stumble and almost fall. At this point, I had had it, so in what probably looked like a spastic fit, I yelled and flailed my arms around in hysteria. It worked. The goose left me alone.

Never did finish that run. Had a huge bruise on my back for several days. The worst part was never really knowing how many people worked late that night and caught the show from their office windows.

Since then, I've had several more encounters with nature, like the time a bee flew in my mouth and stung me, sending me to the urgent care. Then there was the time a coyote crossed my path (later to find out the coyote was rabid). And, I'll never forget the time I looked up and saw a huge bull on the loose. Luckily, he stayed put as I ran by. I'm sure I'm not the only one with these experiences. What have you encountered?

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