I’d like to go for my morning walk, but dawn is still 10 or 15 minutes away. I’m waiting.
My neighborhood is surrounded by water. Two small ponds flank the entrance. Although we didn’t see our alligator friend for over a week, the lack of ducks kept us wary. Sure enough, in the last few days, we’ve seen him plenty, sometimes in one of those front ponds and sometimes in the other. This means he’s not adverse to getting out of the pond to look for food elsewhere. Bill thought maybe he saw a second one, and I can’t be positive, but maybe I did, too. We each saw the second one in the same pond, not in opposite ponds.
They’re still pretty small. Certainly not more than 6 feet.
OK, that’s bigger than my dog. Not small enough.
Besides the small ponds up front, there is a small lake in the middle around which our neighborhood is built. My house, on the inside loop of homes, is built on the lake. There have been no ducks on the lake in recent weeks. Houses on the left, across the street, are built on a creek deep enough to launch a small/medium boat. That creek is a short distance from a river which borders the homes built on the right side of the neighborhood. The river leads to the Atlantic Ocean – not too far away.
My boys have canoed part of that river. Alligators live there, and that’s likely where our friend came from.
I went for a walk yesterday morning before the sun was up. It was very dark and as we approached one house, it looked like a large black cat was reclining on the driveway. My dog was very antsy as we walked past this house, and I thought she was eager to chase the cat. As we reached the far side of the property where the trees and underbrush come all the way up to the street and where a storm creek leads the 50 yards or so to the big creek behind those houses, there was a sudden flurry of movement and noise as some animal crashed into the underbrush. There was also some noise, like a growling or a roar…but maybe that’s just my imagination. Maybe.
The dog startled, and I nearly tripped over her as we hustled up the street, checking our backs every few steps.
“Do alligators make noise?” I asked my husband when I got home. “They do when they go crashing through underbrush,” he said.
I did make a second loop past that house, but the sun was up by then. It was not a cat on the driveway, but a large clump of Spanish moss. Spanish moss falls from the trees all the time and looks like roadkill, even in daylight, until you get pretty close to it.
Later yesterday morning I was returning from an errand. An older woman who lives in the neighborhood was working on the flowers by our front entrance. This lady donates hundreds of hours every month to maintaining the plants up there. As I passed the pond, I saw the alligator, hanging out in the water, so I turned around and went back to the woman.
“Miss Jean,” I said, in the Southern way, “did you see the alligator in that pond?”
She said she was aware he was there, and confessed that she was constantly checking her back. And then she seemed to be looking to me for reassurance that these creatures would tend to keep away from humans. This Yankee was not at all comforted by that Southern Belle’s anxiety. She’s from Georgia – doesn’t she know that alligators are harmless until they’re 8 feet long?
Billy woke up extra early this morning from a bad dream. He was chasing Katie and she ran into the pond and was eaten by the alligator.
“Don’t chase your sister,” I said.
I went for my walk before finishing this post. No alligators. But, by golly, if those flies weren’t out. I thought they were gone, but apparently not.