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Of mice and moose

The seasons affect us more than we let on. With the arrival of summer a few short months ago, my list of outdoor projects was impressive. Daylight was the catalyst. The end of August brings cooler, longer nights, and winter thoughts.

Projects around the house, the great American novel yet to be written, even attendance at a baseball game or two, give over to local travel, entertaining, and reminiscing.

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But more ant than grasshopper, I did accomplish much - just not much of what I planned.

The 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns faced the issue of altered plans in his poem, "To a Mouse." He unintentionally turned one out of its burrow while plowing. He lamented the tiny creature's plight at the onset of winter: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men/ Gang aft a-gley." (Translation for non-Scots: What you plan for usually doesn't happen the way you planned it.)

The mighty moose (see Alexandra Ravinet's article page 15) stands in stark contrast to the wee mouse. Imperturbable and, for all intents and purposes, immovable, it too once was turned out. Hunting was the cause. Today, they've made a remarkable comeback in Maine and New Hampshire.

Years ago, I came across a young bull moose while cross-country skiing in Yellowstone Park, slushing a few feet in front of its path. It surprised me more than I did it, and it was me who scurried away like a mouse.

Bullwinkle jokes would never be the same. Not only did I change my plans for an outing that day, my approach to hiking and skiing in wilderness areas was never the same.

It's reassuring to know moose are ready for any season.

*Comments or questions? E-mail

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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