Category Wild animals
I watch the fast-changing light, play with the pigments on my palette, mixing a little more ivory with the yellow, trying to get the tint just right to record this moment
Dusk is settling to dark on this cool September eve, and the first star hangs low and bright in the sky, twinkling with the cheery strands we’ve stretched high above the perimeter of the dance floor.
We are miles from the Village–Janine, Sena, Cheyenne, Ruby, Merilee, Betty, and I–on our first campout of the season. Minimalists, we sleep on bare ground, our bags zippered close for warmth, thick trampled grasses beneath for cushion.
Momentarily lucid, I smell scat–fox. Where? I raise my head, but the tears come all the more. Alone here on the open hills, I wail, and on the in-breath, that scat again.
I am absolutely certain, though others disputed it, that I saw a mountain lion standing on the bluff overlooking the roadway as it curved down into the big valley beyond the Village of Adriene.
Almost always there would be tracks–sometimes it would appear an entire flock of quail had circled him. Others, we would see the tracks of a coyote or wolf, and sometimes a mountain lion.
Cougar stands, stretches her strong, muscled body long, longer, front legs far out in front, almost touching my toes. She widens her paws and flexes her claws, each one big as an eagle’s beak, then draws back her legs, bends her head, stretches her neck and licks my toes.
Janine has woven the greens, browns, and yellows of the hills, the muted colors of the woods on one side, and the brilliant splotches of the flowering meadows in front. I can smell the rich moldy soil of the woods underfoot and the crisp drying grasses in the summer heat.
At table, we don’t say much the first few minutes. I suspect the others are as hungry as I. We nearly disgrace ourselves slurping and gorging.