Jessie Raymond: Photo Sharing was a ‘moose-stake’

In this age of technology, it’s less important to enjoy beautiful moments for what they are than it is to capture them digitally and share them online within seconds.
While that sounds sensible and doesn’t at all signal the imminent downfall of civilization as we know it, sometimes I get so distracted by existing that I forget to treat my life like an ongoing photo op. Mostly I just post cute pictures of our dog to Facebook.
But I’m getting better.
Take last week: I took the dog out in our hayfield one snowy afternoon to burn off some of his cabin fever craziness. Trudging along, I came upon a set of animal tracks — big ones — meandering around the field and leading into the woods at the back of the property.
My heart started pounding. I know what deer tracks look like. These were similar, but much larger. And they were fresh. This moose — a trophy specimen, judging by the size of the prints — must have passed through just minutes earlier.
For once, instead of getting all giddy about coming so close to such an impressive animal, I kept my wits about me and did the right thing: I whipped out my iPhone, took a photo of the track, and posted it to Facebook from right there in the field. (The fact that I chose Facebook rather than the latest Insta-Vine-Snap-Tweet sharing app tells you I’m well over 30. Whatever. At least I didn’t use a real camera; I’m not that old.)
For scale, I took the picture with my left hand held alongside the split-hooved print, which dwarfed it. Wouldn’t my “friends” be impressed!
Apparently they were; the “likes” started popping up within seconds. (From what I can tell, people stare at Facebook all day long so they don’t miss anything. That seems kind of pathetic, but I can’t lie: The immediate attention never gets old.)
It was a lovely scene out in the sweeping field, with the pink light of the setting sun barely reaching me through the thickly falling snow. Or something like that. To be honest, I was more focused on checking Facebook every few seconds to see who was noticing what a cool experience I was having.
Then I looked more closely at the hoof prints. Though it was hard to make out through the swirling snowflakes, it appeared that a second set of tracks, slightly smaller, accompanied the first. There were two moose. Wow.
Just then, I heard a branch snap in the woods in the direction of the tracks, not 50 yards away. The moose were close.
I peered toward the trees but couldn’t make out either of the hulking animals. More branches cracked. Like Winnie-the-Pooh, I started wondering whether moose are Generally Regarded as One of the Fiercer Animals. I decided not to stick around and find out.
I called the dog and we headed back to the house at a pace faster than “leisurely” but short of “panicked.” The element of danger only added excitement to the photo I had shared on Facebook. What a rush.
When we came within a safe distance of the barn, I turned back to see if the moose had given chase.
Well, no. They hadn’t. But our two massive beef cows, the ones with hooves shaped quite like those of moose, had.
The cows had apparently broken through the fence at the back of their pasture, by the woods. They were now trotting toward us through the hayfield, hoping to catch up to us to be let back into the barn.
At first, I was mortified that my thrilling photo had turned out to be nothing more than our own cow’s hoof print. (Once a flatlander, always a flatlander, I guess.) But, hey, when you’re working hard to share your life on the Internet in almost-real time — often before the facts have a chance to come out — mistakes are bound to happen.
Shortly after returning to the house, I wrote a brief, red-faced retraction on my Facebook page and then went into damage-control mode by posting a cute picture of the dog.
As the “likes” on the dog photo rolled in, I commended myself for deftly handling the gaffe. Lucky for me, Facebook users, though fast to pick up on new posts, have short memories.

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