I love spring, and I love these spring thaws that we have had recently. (I do wish they would last longer than three days and not be followed up by single digits, but…). Spring, as we all know, brings a lot of things, baby animals, Canada geese, flowers, and in my town, skunks.
The local thought is that it has to do with our proximity to the river – it is one of our borders – but there are a multitude of towns across the country based on and around rivers and I do not hear anyone else screaming foul. Now, I understand skunks are not a vicious species. They will not bite me, or carry my children off to live in a cave, but they do not need to; they stink and if my kids ever did get sprayed, I might make them live in a cave. It is this stink that leaves me fearing when I go for runs. I think I would rather run five miles gushing blood from a savage opossum attack and face a rabies shot than run five miles not being able to breath.
Cue last Friday. It was another night run that saw me leave the house around eight. It had been a warm day in the low-forties and it was still just above freezing when I headed out. Mostly because I am afraid of the dark (running through woods on untrafficked back roads at night scares me real good…) I keep to the main road and take a couple side loops to add mileage. One such loop is through an industrial complex of sorts that has a long, winding, uphill exit. No one really takes the exit, but it is plowed to fit one car. I was moving along at a decent clip up the hill when I thought I saw something skittering ahead of me. It was dark and shadowy and around a bit of a bend so I was not sure what it was. I threw on my flashlight and there it was, a skunk scared something awful of the idiotic man chasing it down the road. And there I was, scared something awful of the stink bomb in front of me, no doubt planning when best to strike. It was a long workout and I was feeling good and was not about to let a varmit ruin it for me, so we started racing. While skunks are not known for their speed, it is amazing how fast they can run when they need to. The pursuit lasted for maybe five seconds before I overcame it. But five seconds behind a frightened skunk is an eternity. Once I had comfortably left the skunk behind, and the fear turned to relief that I did not get sprayed, I began laughing marvelously when I thought about how scared I was and how scared poor senor skunk must have been.
On the way home, I ran past a skunk, though this one had been torn asunder my a fast moving auto and spilled it’s stank all over the road. I also passed another that had sprayed but apparently left the scene. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before my dog gets it, again (she killed one last year, you can guess how good she smelled). I just hope the skunk who decided to use the first lane during one of my track workouts last year is not back.