I am always interested in wildlife that resides around my house. After moving in our new home I have heard stories about the resident mountain lions seen in the neighborhood. I have kept a diligent and watchful eye for signs that these big cats have visited the area surrounding my home. About one month ago I noticed that the Aspen tree growing next to the corner of my house in the front had been vigorously marked by a cougar. I knew it had to be a large cat, because the claw marks on the tree spanned a foot to one and a half feet in length and were placed about two to three feet up on the tree. The claw marks are too high and too deep to have been a bobcat. It was at this point that I decided to carry a firearm outside at night when taking my dog, Gabbie, out for her final potty break. My firearm of choice was a 38 Special revolver with six chambers to hold six opportunities to hit the target. My flashlight of choice was a small Surefire with a powerful 500 lumens that has the capability to turn night instantly into day. I felt very well prepared for a mountain lion encounter.
A mountain lion similar to the one I saw in the back of my house
Well, the night before last I had an opportunity to use my skills. In preparation to retire for the evening I grabbed the trusty flashlight in my left hand, the 38 Special in my right and escorted Gabbie out to the back courtyard. My routine is to immediately scan the boulders behind the courtyard with my flashlight. It has become such a routine that I was surprised (only for an instant) when I observed a full grown mountain lion staring back at me just a short 35 feet away from where I stood. Every night I go through this same routine and I know what I'm looking for, but I never expected to actually see a mountain lion staring back at me. In that moment my preparation flew right out the window, I grabbed Gabbie by the scruff and ran back into the house. I wasn't in the mood to fight it out with a big cat if I could avoid the encounter.
A floribunda rose in my garden
I don't know about you, but since I have been fighting a chronic illness I feel much more physically vulnerable. I always felt strong and able to tackle anything that came my way. When I was faced with this mountain lion my hands, wrists and arms were so painful and I didn't even think I could fire a shot from the 38 Special in my right hand. I felt weak and somewhat fragile and very vulnerable in the face of this exceptionally equipped predator. I have a warrior spirit to fight this chronic disease every day, but I don't even begin to resemble a physical warrior. It's a humbling experience to become the prey of an efficient hunter. I would like to think I'm tough enough to accept a physical challenge, but the reality is I'm only tough in spirit. One out of two ain't bad, aye? May your warrior spirit carry you through the majority of life's challenges! Blessings to you . . .