Here, living along this stretch of the old Iditarod Trail, we’re experiencing our deepest snows for decades. It’s grown so tough on the moose, I’ve encouraged my family to be considerate as the creatures wander through our yard and woods, and not add any more to their stress. Yes, they pose threats to our safety if we are not watchful. Sure, they upset the piece by causing the neighborhood dogs to carry on a constant uproar. And, it’s true that in the big animals’ pursuit of keeping body and soul together, a lot of valuable fruit trees and ornamentals in local yards get reduced to sawdust between moose molars.
Our local highway generally parallels, or overtops the historic Iditarod Trail. Various and sundry constabulary patrol the nearest thirty miles. Now I don’t know how you’d prove it without being earmarked a significant percentage of Obama’s stimulus to fund the finding out, but I’d bet dollars to—er, donuts—that, per capita if not mile, our breed up here choffs down more of those confections with which cops are so identified than any other of their brotherhood anywhere. No contest.
Last Sunday, as our family motored toward church, ahead at a pullout right beside the old trail, the red lights of a patrol car flashed. Rubbernecking in passing, what did we observe but that, incredibly, the officer had pulled over what we recognized to be the long familiar, plain-black, undercover bane of the disobedient and unwary who flaunt or forget the law along these local miles of the Iditarod. Now its driver had his eyes closed, frowning. My first thought was that we were witnessing a rare occurrence, the police-world equivalent of a citizen’s arrest.