I grew up rurally in the Adirondack State Park. As a child and teenager, I spent a great deal of time in the woods. I saw lots of deer and birds and a black bear or two but only once did I ever see a fisher and that was from a car window, as it quick took off back into the woods.
The fisher is elusive and mean. Carnivorous, he preys on small animals mostly and will also eat carrion and rotting vegetables. He favors showshoe hares and porcupines (which should tell you something about his ferocity). He is mostly nocturnal but will come out during the day.
Today I saw my second fisher.
Less than an hour ago, I was sitting in my yard, reading a book, drinking a glass of wine. Darby, my dog, was by my side, almost asleep. He’s been acting weird all week–not wanting to venture too far out into the yard, instead staying close by. So we’re sitting there and the sun’s still out, almost ready to start setting and then both of see it at the same time–it’s a fisher and it’s about 20 feet away and slowly making his way toward us.
Darby is up and on the thing before I can even move and then it’s running and Darby’s chasing it (he’s on a run, by the way, so he’s leashed) and I’m screeching for him to come back (but he hasn’t quite mastered the come when called command). But finally I get him back and we go inside and I catch my breath and go back out and rescue my wine (I know you were worried about it).
And I wonder how it is that me and this wild creature, this predator who wants only to be left alone, were on this same patch of grass together. It bugs me that I’m in his territory. That he even has to feel grass beneath his feet (and scary claws) and it excites me that I’m here with him. That this place, seemingly so placid, is, in fact, filled with more wildlife than I could have ever expected. It’s exciting. It’s terrifying.
I wish the fisher well. I also wish well the porcupine family that has been inhabiting our street all summer–although, I fear they are lost.
So today, an otherwise shitty day, I am one of the lucky few people who have seen a fisher up close. That has got to mean something, doesn’t it?