The animal I didn’t see


Do you know the feeling?

I have struggled myself out of bed, denying myself the pleasure of another snooze, out into the cold, to be bitten by mosquitos, only to be waiting for that famous moose to appear. I imagined its majestic appearance, slowly trotting into the focus of my lens. But nothing. One hour wait next to the misty morning lake, and not a sight of the animal. All those road signs promising moose crossing the street, nothing.

I maintain to have at least seen a bird, standing in the water on the other side of the lake. It did move, I am sure. It was not a stick.

I could understand the emotion of the couple sharing the look-out over a common duck, the only living non-human being in miles distance. Yet, the antlered head of the moose did never cross my view.

This was some years ago, in Quebec. I expected this year everything would be different: Bears, sea lions, dolphins, the Bold Eagle were awaiting me on the West Coast.

Alas, here is a collection of photos showing what I have not been able to observe.

Sea lions – we thought they would swim around. Even in the caves they seem to have hid themselves. Later, we saw some splashes off the shore in Monterey, but too far away to know if it was a sea lion, or a seal, or anything at all.

Dolphins – suddenly the rumor went around the beach, and the surfers came back, their eyes bright and happy, dolphins had crossed their path.

The Bold Eagle, the American animal, on the eve of extinction.

Bears – the only animal I actually am happy not to have faced in real!

Here is the only friend I could say hello. Say hello to friend the hoary marmot! And to be fair, I shared the company of some real nice birds, and a lonely deer.

Also, a raccoon crossed swiftly our paths in Yosemite valley, so swiftly, there was no way of taking a picture.

But that is another story.


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