Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Encounter with a Mountain Lion

Last night, I looked up from the sowing project in my lap and locked eyes with a mountain lion. I sat in front of a window that stretches from the floor to the ceiling in a rocking chair, ten feet from the enormous feline; she looked directly at me.

Those unmistakable, round eyes penetrated me to the core and though I pulled myself out of the chair with confidence, my insides turned to mush. I yelled at the lion in a deep voice, ordering it to go away. Rather than retreating, she advanced, and in two swift steps her nose was at the glass.

Ruda responded to my bellows and came to my side, completely unaware of the hair-raising wildness perched three feet from us. Immediately the cat's eyes turned to Rudabega and in that moment I crumbled.

I drew her away from the window. I hid under the desk. I refused to look in the direction of any of the widows. My skin crawled. Adrenaline coursed through me like thousands of angry bees.

When I got home yesterday I found vomit all over the floor. It seemed Dixie, our unloved cat, had an upset stomach. Since Dev left to teach a six week course in Cape Code, Dixie has become my sole responsibility and I wish her dead daily. After cleaning her vomit I threw her outside for the night. She sat at the next window over watching me all night and remained in her place when the mountain lion arrived. I was certain I manifested her death. And though I hate her, I felt remorse and guilt.

After ten minutes of cowering I kept my eyes to the floor as I walked to the window to retrieve my phone. I called Luke, and shamelessly begged him to come over. I did not try to hide the terror in my voice. I woke Dev, it was 1:30 in the morning East Coast time, to tell him I was certain I killed his cat. He assured me that this would be the perfect way for Dixie to go and then asked me to go to the windows so I could describe the lion in greater detail. I refused.

Never has a hug felt more welcomed than when Luke arrived.  I remembered the way my parents' hugs made everything bad go away in an instant the moment Luke wrapped me in his arms. I finally relaxed and I would not let him go.

I tossed and turned in my bed, the eyes of the panther burned into me. Adrenaline filled me again at intervals throughout the night, like the chest of my friend, rising and falling. I matched my breath to his. I watched the sky grow light, drinking up the soft, streaming pastels, and bathed in the bright pinks and oranges. Dixie mewed at my door.

In the haunting darkness the lion seemed so threatening and her advances menacing. But in the comfort of daylight I wondered if she had been curious, trying to get a better understanding of the wildness of lights and noise. I won't be running at dusk for awhile, or peeing outside...or doing anything outside around my place at night until the cold settles in and the cat heads for higher climes.

These photos were all taken by Andrew Cranson, a man of many talents and trades. He's a farmer, a hunter, a musician, a photographer, and a ladies man.
Andrew Cranson

Andrew Cranson

Andrew Cranson
Andrew Cranson

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