There once was a moose. He doesn’t know how he came to be, but one day he just was. He remembers blurry colors. He remembers swaying on wobbly legs, as if the ground was moving below his feet. But most of all, he remembers her.
She stood by him and help him steady himself. She licked him clean and nudged him towards her. He doesn’t know why, but he latched his mouth onto her teet and began to feed. She was his mother, and she was everything he knew at that moment.
As his legs stabilized, he could soon walk between and around her legs. As his eyes focused, he could see the world around him, peering out from under her belly. He had no idea what it all was, for she was still all that he knew.
When she took one graceful step, he took three stumbley ones. He wanted to stay with her, because she was the only thing he knew.
She ate leaves, and he suckled.
Time went on and his strength grew. He slowly ventured away from her towering legs, but never far. She kept an eye on him, always. A simple grunt or stomp of her foot and he would run straight back to her side. No questions asked.
He would suckle. She would graze. And together they wandered the boreal forest.
He watched her every move. The way she pulled certain leaves off certain trees. The way she spun her ears towards the slightest sound. The way she examined a river bank before they would cross. If she ran, he ran with her. If she called, he came. He watched her every move. The only things he knew were what she did.
He would follow her anywhere. Right off the edge of the Earth, if that’s where she was taking him.
He suckled. She ate leaves.
Time passed and he grew. Tall. Taller.
He could no longer stand underneath her. He strained his neck to reach his feeding spot. Then it happened.
She flinched so violently, her knee came up and banged his face. It startled him so much, he wasn’t really sure what had happened. He stumbled back, ready to run where she ran.
But she didn’t run. She just stood there, eating leaves. As if nothing happened.
He went back to eat, but she turned away from him. She had never done that before. He was confused. She was eating leaves.
He walked around to her side and tried again. She turned away again.
He layed down. Baffled. He knew everything about her every move, but he had no explanation for this. She just kept eating leaves.
Eventually, he was very hungry and tried again. But the more he tried, the more she turned away. If he tried in desperation, she would match him with what seemed to be aggression.
He ate leaves. They were awful. He wondered if he had done something wrong. What could it be? She was all he knew. He followed her. They both ate leaves. He hated it.
He studied her every move. She was different. When he ventured away, she wouldn’t call him. When they crossed a river, she wouldn’t look back to check on him.
She was distant. Cold. But he followed her, for she was everything he knew. He ate leaves and wondered what he did to deserve this.
Then one day…
She ran at him. She told him to scram. To beat it. She was aggressive, too. She said something about him being too old and too big. That he needed to get lost. That he couldn’t follow her any more. That he had to go out on his own. She said a lot of things. He ran away.
He ran into forest, frightened. Confused. Crying. She was NOT the mother he had always known. He had done nothing wrong!
What did she mean by that? “If another boy who’s bigger than me comes along, I could be killed?” “I’m not ready to fight?” What did that mean? It had always just been the two of them. They saw other moose, but they never ever dared to approached them. That’s just not what moose do, so why would anyone approach us?
He ran back with a mind full of questions to where he last saw her but she was gone. He wandered around. Turned his ears in all directions but knew it was foolish. For being as big as she was, she moved as graceful as mountain goat and as silent as a snowy owl.
He never saw her again, but he looked for her forever. His questions will never be answered, but she remained the greatest thing that he had every known. Greater that the brightest aurora against the blackest night sky in February.
What he doesn’t know, dear reader, is that soon he will cross paths with the most beautiful creature he will ever lay eyes on. A creature so mesmerizing, he will forget his mother ever existed. He will be filled more questions he will never get answers to, but he will be willing to fight to the death for her. But that? That’s a different kind of love and that is a different story, for another time.