Back in them old days, before we worried about Giardia and amoebic dysentery and fun things like that, we used to get our drinking water from a little fresh spring that ran down the hill some ways down toward the far end of the lake. Dad rigged a “spout” that he shoved deep into the moss above a little clear pool so that instead of seeping, the water actually flowed in a tiny clear stream down into the pool on its way to the lake. Every other day or so, we gathered up our empty plastic jugs and tramped down the trail to the spring to fill them.
One bright day, Dad handed me the empty jugs (I was about six years old) and told me to start down the trail. He was going to run up to the outhouse and then cut through the woods and meet me along the trail to the spring.
I should mention that I was a little spacey even then! I was probably singing or doing my best raven impression or talking to myself as I walked along when I realized there was an obstruction in the trail. I stopped a few feet from it, thinking that this bush hadn’t been here before and had I gotten on the wrong trail somehow? Suddenly the bush shook itself and proceeded to lumber across the trail and disappear into the brush. Yikes!
The part Mom thinks is funny is the fact that I didn’t notice the porcupine until I nearly tripped over it, not to mention my hysterical reaction afterwards. I (allegedly) screamed at them that they “shouldn’t make a little girl walk by herself in the woods!” Possibly just a touch melodramatic! Neither of my parents ever passes up an opportunity to tell the story to friends!
Since that day, although I’ve seen plenty of porcupines along the highway (both dead and alive), I’ve never seen one anywhere on our property. Possibly the echo of my screams has been passed down through their generations as a warning to beware of daydreaming children!