Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ahna vs. Badger

I was about a quarter of the way through my Saturday morning long run. It was a fairly nice day…overcast and a bit windy, but not too cold for a nice morning run. I was just rounding the corner of Berbergweg (one of my favorite running trails) when I encountered him standing on the path before me. He was tumbling pile of fur, claws, and whiskers. His ears and the sides of his face were black, contrasting the thick white stripe that ran down the middle of his nose and forehead. No, he wasn’t a skunk (thankfully), but he was a large, bristle-furred, sharp-toothed, and somewhat menacing-looking badger.

For those of you who know me well, you might recall that one of my favorite book series as a kid was the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. If you’ve ever entered the pages of Redwall then you are most likely aware that the fiercest of all the animal warriors are unmistakably the badgers. According to Jacques, once the badgers are filled with the blood-wrath known only to their species, there is absolutely no chance of escape during battle.

And so, there I stood, frozen on the path, staring at the badger, and trying desperately not to replay Redwall battle scenes in my head. I thought that maybe if I could just skirt around to the side perhaps he wouldn’t mind too much if I passed by. I could then continue peacefully with my run. I cautiously took a step forward, but the badger was ready. He arched his back and lifted his two front paws, hissing and snarling like a cat. Okay, now comes the part where I should have probably turned around and made a run for it back up the mountain. But, I was already halfway down the mountain and I had seriously just spent the past 15 minutes running up the mountain. No way did I want to do that hill again. Not to mention the best part of the trail was just beyond his furry body.

I thought for a moment longer. Maybe he was bluffing? I inched forward a second time. Though he continued to snarl, this time I caught the slightest bit of hesitation. I decided to call his bluff. If he could play this game, so could I. Twisting my face into my best wild-cat snarl, I let loose a ferocious growl (at least I imagined it to be ferocious…) and started charging towards him full speed on the trail. The “tough guy” mask immediately disappeared as he fell to all fours and hightailed it into the woods as fast as his little round body could carry him. Relieved to be out of danger, I kept running hard for another minute or two just to make sure he wasn’t following me. On retrospect, this was probably a pretty crazy notion that a chubby furball would be in hot pursuit of a local runner on a forest trail in Germany…but you never know. I finished my run with no other exciting encounters with wildlife. Perhaps my badger has already warned all his friends that you don’t pick a fight with a West Virginia runner. :)


1 comment:

  1. hahaha....I loved everything about this little story! Little bit of running, little bit of nature, and little bit of children's much Ahna in one blog post :-)

    way to show him how they make me in West Virginia! thanks for sharing!