Three times I have spotted a young moose, an awkward calf, in my backyard.

A teen-moose, a kind deer, a curious bull, growing his first pair of antlers, horns without branches. He stands too near to know better, not ten yards from the house.

In my dreams, he is older. A bullmoose lurks large and puffing, ten feet tall, more than twice my height, he looms and nudges me gently with his horsey nose-face. I learn to stand still.

He’s unpredictable, unassuming. Not evil, as the horns might suggest but not Mr. Safe Guy either.  The dream dictionary tells me that a bullmoose represents “runaway emotions” that might trample me—in my sleep? Or once I wake?

Apparently it stands for masculine, or yang, energy, and how I’m able to survive and prosper under any circumstances (this is true) by means of steady movement forward through life…‘though sometimes I look back.

An elk, or bullmoose, refers a dreamer to the elders; but do I look to my mentors, the honeysuckle along the drive (from the elder family) or the Old Testament? Moose in dreams represent a long life and longevity; I come from a long line of long lives yet lived and while seemingly immortal, eventually died.

The dream-moose bellowed that urgent bugle-like alarm in response to my bleating, a female distress call I’m not prepared to admit I ever made. Mythology tells us that a bullmoose connotes a connection, communicates through intuition, a letter, a psychic transmission, a thought, a call. He is the unknown caller in the shadows of my woods. If my house is the heart of my home, the woods—arms and legs.

His mahogany hair is hollow and his dogged ears rotate 180° so that he can locate predators, even if they are far away. His power is the deer kind, vegetarian, sensitive to his environment and willing to defend a cow, or even someone else’s mate, depending on the situation. (Rutting season is not until September.)

Alces alces dust to dust moss to moss hoof to hoof berry to broadleaf. The young moose in my woods probably likes the lichen, the marshy plants that grow in the pond near my house. He’ll dunk his whole head underwater and browse. His family might be with him but I’ve never seen them. Over the summer, his sturdy shoulders will expand to more than five feet across and he’ll be 1000 pounds by next winter. He’s going through the moose equivalent of puberty, much like my youngest brother, whose Adam’s apple bounces up and down with the pitch changes in his kazoo-voice;  the teen-moose licks his lips, as if about to charge, but he’s only bluffing.  The shaggy bell beneath his chin is that embarrassing half-beard that boys like my brother have at that age.

Back to the moose in my dream:  his breath is humid as he sniffs my hair and I reach for the tines, velvety vessels of blood and male dominance. I move away, afraid but he lumbers toward me like a drunkard, or dancer, or lover. He’s clumsy but in control. I let him take the reins, so to speak, remain.

“A big Buick bombin’ down the road better brake for a bull moose.” My dad told me something like that more than twenty years ago, as we drove up to Quebec through northern Maine. Back then, Dad shot with bow and arrow but we never saw a buck, never a carcass, never entrails, neither venison nor trophy. Years later, when I was a teen-girl, he promised he “shot deer with a camera now.”

When I told my friend about the dreams, she sang: “It moose be loooooove!”