“Strange” is an occasional podcast by The Dallas Morning News where fascinating people tell their true stories of an encounter with the strange. The Standard is running pieces of the first episode throughout the week.
Texan Jeffrey Cranor is known for the hit podcast he co-created, Welcome to Night Vale. In October, he and his partner wrote a spinoff novel by the same name – it debuted a number 4 on The New York Times Best Sellers list.
As things get more hectic in Cranor’s work, he relishes the escape of a small country house in upstate New York. The animals he sees in the surrounding woods are nothing like the ones in his native Mesquite. In fact, on one recent night, Cranor wasn’t even sure what he was looking at.
Here’s an except from his story:
Our porch looks out toward the Catskills. Between our home and the eastern edge of the hills is a forest, and shaved into the forest next to the house is a flat patch of land upon which one local farm is planted – a corn field. During the late summer the corn is as high as a very tall animal, or whatever height is deemed correct by that old musical.
In the warmer evenings, as the sun sets, my wife and I often pour a little whiskey and sit out on the deck watching the twilight sky dim over nature. Our little home – a quarter mile off the nearest farm road and equally far from the nearest neighbor.
At dusk we can see the magnificent wildlife of upstate New York. There is a family of deer, a colony of bats that erratically dive bomb the mosquitoes, flocks of Canadian geese, woodchucks, chipmunks, squirrels. There is even a black bear that occasionally appears, loafing about our yard.
I usually shout “Hi bear!” at the bear, which causes the bear to pause each time, and appear socially anxious, and then amble as quickly as one can amble back into the trees. I respect nature because it is beautiful and it can kill you.
Listen to Cranor’s full story in the audio player above.