This is one of those nights where it looks like the fog is trying out for a part in a new horror film. It’s low, misty, and hugs the road in great slow swirls and drifts. It’s not difficult to image the scene where we suddenly drive right into a person standing alone in the middle of the road, only to find there was never anybody there to begin with. The wind sculpts the mist into all sorts of shapes an overactive imagination can play with.
But tonight it was not people we were worried about while making our late night drive home from Fredericton to Saint John. Along these New Brunswick highways it is well known that the Moose is King, especially at night. I don’t think anybody has grown up around here without hearing horror stories of somebody hitting a moose. Deer are relatively common, small animals more-so, but it is the moose that has a reputation for being able to withstand a hit from a bus and barely notice. Exaggerated, sure, but you get the point.
So our drive, almost completely free from other traffic though it may have been, was anything but relaxed. A battle between outside—where Mother Nature’s minions stalked the night—and in—where clouds of moose-shaped mist trick our imaginations. It was quite a relief when after fifty kilometres of nought but roadsigns and shrubbery we finally spotted the first house signalling a return to relative civilisation. It was a very brief reprise, and we were quickly back in moose country, greeted by those bright orange diamond warning signs that do nothing for your blood pressure, with another 40 klicks to go before Saint John proper.
By the time we saw the cityscape ahead we had counted, with reasonable certainty, just one deer and one moose. We had gracefully cruised past both of them in the night—as graceful as you can hope to be in a large red stationwagon. From there on in we had streetlights to show us the way—scourge of the astronomer but angel of salvation to the midnight driver. Within twenty minutes I was home again without having killed any animals, or ourselves. Mission accomplished.