An ordinary everyday phrase spoken in a small town can be the best thing you’ve heard in a week if heard in the city.  “It’s skunky out, watch for cougars.”  These were not words of warning spoken as to the clientele of a bar but the standard spring nature advisory issued prior to heading out on a west coast hike.

Skunk Cabbage is a strange swampy plant that grows like mad at the beginning of spring in my land of Lund.  Bright yellow and smelling similar to a skunk 3-5 hours after being run over.  The rule of thumb is that when the skunk cabbage start sprouting up, so does the wildlife.  Much like when a young lad walks into a cougar bar doused in pheremone laced body spray.

Wildlife looking for a wilder life.

Time living in a city doesn’t dull the senses and reflexes of a country girl.  During a hike you’re always ready to play dead, run like hell, bang rocks together, unleash the dog, scream or stay quiet all at the crack of a stick.  Different moves apply to different animals although i’m no longer clear on which move for what animal.

Some of these country strengths have translated to city living.  I’ve played dead on a subway until my stop.  I’ve rounded a corner on a city street and run like hell.  Only after rounding the corner so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings if they had no intention of rolling me.  I’ve unleashed the fury of the cat on the back yard birds.  I’m familiar with pop music so know how to access the sound of rocks banging together.

As kids we equated skunk cabbage with flatulence and body odour because we didn’t have cable.  You needed to create your own funny which may explain why I now write blogs that may contain farts.  The paper mill smelled pretty bad when we were little. There was always a joke to be told as we drove by and usually launched at my Dad, from where we were jumping around in the back seat or up in the rear window ledge where we lay, because he worked there.  The running theme involved developing a vile spray with notes of skunk and mill and bum and shooting it at each other.  The inventors of Axe & Lynx Deoderant Body Spray had similar upbringings i’m assuming.

I didn’t see any bears this visit and the only sign of cougars was me walking around town trying to remember what things meant.  The significance of my past and present experiences.  What extra memories to pack away and take back east.  Not all of them life altering but still, more than just another skunky lesson from the west coast.



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