the scientist

The world is a wondrous place and Mia is my constant explorer.

This morning, Mia’s explorations are directly due to my encounter with an unknown animal in the backyard last weekend at 1:30 in the morning.

I was deeply asleep and remember hearing a low rumble enter my dreams. Thinking it was a motorcycle driving up the busy road across the canyon, I rolled over, falling back to sleep, but the sound kept going. As it pulled me into consciousness, I realized it wasn’t a motorcycle.

A deep angry growl filled my dreams and scared the heck out of me. I rose up and looked out the window. The night was dark and deeply shadowed. No moon lighting the night. I could see nothing, I could only hear the nearby snarling.

We live up in the hills and the surrounding wildlife ranges from sweet to dangerous. Squirrels. Deer. Opossum. Raccoons. Even Mountain Lions. After what seemed like an eternity, the growling finally dissipated. I have to assume it ran off into the brush. Whatever it was, it snapped a tree-like-bush right at the base of its trunk. We lost two other bushes over the past couple of months in the same spot, but were unsure what was climbing or falling over the fence into the brush.

Out of sheer interest in solving the animal mystery, I ordered a night vision trail camera. I mounted it on the deck pole, directly pointing it at the corner of the yard where broken bushes are laying in the bark. I am hopeful.

However, it snapped no photos the first night. The next day, I arrived home from work to discover there were sixty-seven photos on the device. Imagine my excitement! But alas, I load the photos onto my computer, only to discover its our gardener mowing the lawn through every frame.

By day three, still no clue to what visiting our yard. No video. No photos. But this is Mia’s world and she was determined to discover and investigate.

I find her outside wearing the protective plastic goggles she received as part of her Smithsonian rock excavation kit. She wears them all the time when she’s conducting her experiences (that’s what she calls experiments). Being the stylish scientist she is, Mia also wears a triple pearl necklace embedded with a brooch. She uses a small black flashlight to examine water stains on the patio.

She excitedly yells out, “See Mommy! It’s a moose print. It has glitter. A sparkly moose was here.”

I don’t have the heart to tell her, moose are not a native animal in this part of the world.

I tell her scientists film their discoveries, so they can share them and receive credit for the find. She wants me to do the same for her. We begin again with her Moose track discovery.

She ends her videos with “Thank you, my name is Mia.” Done. Documented. Credited.

She finds raccoon tracks and deer tracks. She tells me at the end of one of the videos, “I like discovering stuff because I will great be a great scientist when I grow up. Thank you, my name is Mia.”

I admire her. Mia sees things, adults would never see or even pay attention to. Where I would see just a water stain, she sees animal tracks layered in the patterns of a quarry stone like a fortune-teller reading tea leaves.

So for now, we continue to wait for the camera to reveal what or who was in the yard that dark night, but I like to think Mia’s discoveries are pretty darn close.

I’ll leave the rest of the story telling to the following short videos.

2 thoughts on “the scientist

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