Looking for Bullwinkle J. Moose


Unlike so many other forests I have seen, the forests in Atlantic Canada can be thick and short, crowded and scrubby. Balsam firs, white and red spruce, alders, pines and hemlocks vie for space and air. The winds off the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Northumberland Straits, and the Bay of Fundy seem to twist and stunt their growth.

In New Brunswick, a province I have been told, with only 750,000 people living in the entire landmass, you can drive for miles and miles on roads just like the one in the above picture, without seeing anything but a wall of conifers leaning out as if to say, “Watch it, buddy.”

Our route from Acadian side of New Brunswick, the east coast, to the provincial capital, Fredericton, turned out to be a race against the setting sun. We drove and drove without seeing anything but a viridian timberland wall on both sides of the road.


In many instances, the roads had been shaved on both sides by a cadre of barbers–heavy excavators swinging their boxes back and forth, knocking small trees to the left and right like toothpicks.

And why?

image“Oh, if I could only see a moose, ” I kept sharing with my stalwart driver who was trying to navigate a road that never changed its scenery for miles and miles and miles.

There are 500,000 to 1 million moose in New Brunswick, and every year, on certain stretches of highway, unsuspecting motorists and moose collide in a nasty dance of death and damage. Just learning this statistic caused incessant warnings to my driver “…to watch out in case a moose steps out of these woods.”

“Cheri, moose are shy (albeit huge–850-1500 pounds) animals who have no interest in us, so be glad that there is  daylight and stop worrying, ” he admonished, tired of my drama. My research told me that September is mating season, so moose are infused with hormonal energy.

Behind schedule and halfway across the province on a rural road that festered with potholes, we learned that the road had been closed. We needed to take a different route. My driver thought it exciting; I became preoccupied with moose.

Would we make it before nightfall?

In the lounge of our hotel in Fredericton that night, over a glass of wine, we marveled that we had not seen one moose.

Well, OK. I did see one.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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13 Responses to Looking for Bullwinkle J. Moose

  1. Christopher says:

    Your piece contained a word I hadn’t before encountered, ” viridian”, and I felt forced to look it up.

    I’m going to guess that most people – including, dare I say, your readers – won’t have heard of “viridian” either. Your use of this arcane word invokes questions about your unconscious motives for doing so, and raises the issue of whether one – particularly in a putative democracy – should knowingly use words which one’s interlocutors (or readers) are unlikely to know.

    Instead of “viridian”, you could so easily have said “misty blue-green”, and we would have been grateful.

    Although, thanks to you, “viridian” is now added to my vocabulary, I can never use it when speaking with others, lest I become even more a pariah than I am now.

  2. Richard says:

    Such afflatus of viridian arboreality and collateral acumen actuates transcendent laudation.

    I write in code to avoid scrutiny by the lower orders.

    You have to keep between the yellow lines to avoid the mooses, though cyclists can be a hazard there.

  3. shoreacres says:

    Buffett, that crazy Floridian,
    kept seeking the Wilder Meridian.*
    But had he once run
    well north with the sun,
    he’d have chosen the better viridian.

    *wild meridian

    It sounds like the moose there fill the niche reserved here for white tail deer: i.e., road hazard. But here’s what I have to know: on your journey into this primeval land, have you heard the pines and the hemlocks murmuring?

    • Cheri says:

      As a matter-of-fact, we did hear those eerie biridian whispers when we stopped at a French Canadian cafe in Bouctouche. Judge Le Blah admitted he was 1/2 French Canadian on his father’s side ( Sabourin) and 1/2 English on his mother’s side. The server spoke French to us. He ordered a seafood chowder which arrived with a small sprig of viridian kale.

      I thought I heard Evangeline calling from Anapolis-Royal, across the bay in Nova Scotia.

  4. wkkortas says:

    If you are behind the wheel, a sudden meeting with Rocky generally ends up much better for one’s vehicle that Bullwinkle. Come to think of it, the notorius Badunov would probably do less damage.

  5. Cheri says:

    😀 We are dating ourselves!

  6. ShimonZ says:

    Loved the moose warning sign!

  7. Cheri says:

    Me too. If only I had seen a live moose, my trip would have been perfect!

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