The other day The Cheerleader I Live With came home from work and, bounding up the stairs, blurted “C’mere! C’mere! C’mere!”, while trying to drag me to the front porch by my shirt sleeve. I was in the midst of making a salad and was wielding a large avocado-thirsty knife, but he didn’t care about that. He was adamant that I drop what I was doing and go down stairs with him IMMEDIATELY.

A tad nervous, but feeding off his excitement, I knitted my brows and placed the lucky avocado on the counter beside the knife that I was going to kill it with (Really, how cruel am I?).  The Cheerleader I Live With giggled like an idiot as I followed him toward the front porch. He threw himself against the window to hide… whatever it was… from my sight, then said “look! look! look!” I explained that if he was going to stand his big Cheerleady body in front of the window, I, in fact, could not look. He slumped his shoulders, and twisted his lips momentarily to the side of his face before saying,”Oh”.

Then, with a Harry Potter flourish, he flung the door open and I beheld the glory of… a 5-foot tall, wire-framed Christmas moose with a red scarf and a broken antler.

“I rescued it!”, The Cheerleader said, with a massive, proud smile.

“Frooooooom…?”

“From the river!! It was floating away, but I went and got it! Can you believe someone threw this away?!”

Since I had no Moose Rescue medal to pin on his oh-so-worthy chest, I simply smiled and said, “that’s great, honey. Good job, darling… I’m going to go finish making salad now”

However, The Cheerleader I Live With was too busy propping up the moose’s broken antler and watching it swing down again to even hear me. “I think it’ll look great right here, don’t you?”, he said, as he motioned to the small front porch that the Rescued Christmas Moose was now taking up most of. “It’ll be like our mascot, or our Guard Moose!”

I began to feel sorry for Christmas Moose, and wondered why anyone would throw him in the river in the first place. Here was this wire moose, happily on someone’s lawn brightening up the neighbourhood one day, and the next it was drowning in humiliation as it was dragged down the Fraser River toward an inevitable reedy, silty death. This moose didn’t do anything wrong, but he was certainly treated as though he did.

It got me thinking about my idea that all things have a heart and a mind. I have this weird infliction where I think that all things, all things, have a conscious ability to think and feel. Everything. From bananas to headlights, pebbles to picture frames, rivers to mountains to tree stumps. It’s sort of like how First Nations peoples believe that everything has a spirit… but with less sanity and more guilt.

I realized that I began to think about all things this way when I was really young, and it hit me that this idea makes up a very big part of who I am. In my head I began to compose an entry about it for The Book, and knew that it could very well be a chapter unto itself. A chapter that I am looking forward to writing.

So, after The Cheerleader I Lived With stopped giggling and poking the moose, we decided to name it. Gus the Rescued Christmas Moose now lives with us, in a safe spot beside the front deck. If you happen to live close by, feel free to come and visit with him. We hope to make him feel welcome and loved as he guards our little red house, and we’re sure that he’ll make great friends with Montauk the beaver, The Blowfish the owl, and all of the Fat Raccoons who get their daily veggie intake from our compost pile.

It’s a good life, isn’t it?

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