Different Reactions to a Big Cat Sighting

mountain lion

And by Big Cat, I mean THIS.






My latest observation …

Denver Foothills people: Wow, a mountain lion. How big? Male or female? Adult or juvenile? Be sure to knock on your neighbors’ doors to tell them. Bring your dogs and children inside for two weeks. Be on the lookout and report all evidence!

Colorado Mountain people: Yep. Heard him last week on my roof at 2 a.m. Went outside, heard him hiss at me, went back to bed.

Texas people: Honey, where’s the camera and my gun?


By the way, I wrote about my own encounter with a mountain lion once for my now-defunct online mountain living column. Here’s an excerpt, for posterity.

I think I’ll always remember his stare. His black-brown eyes locked on the front end of my car and didn’t flinch. The muscles along his jaw moved, but his face and eyes did not. He didn’t glance away, not once. His ears didn’t move, either, as I thought they might. His tail was black-tipped and as long as his body, and it switched back and forth, as he seemed to be considering his options. It reminded me of how a house cat might swish his tail before pouncing on a toy mouse. I actually wondered at one point if he might lunge toward my Subaru.

His face was sharp and angular and surprisingly small compared to the rest of his body. A black line continued from his nose to his mouth, and combined with his long whiskers, he looked like he had a thin, handle-bar mustache. His stance was slightly crouched as he looked at me, his sleek body lines sloping to the back feet. He was wary of me, but there was definitely a sense that he was in control.

It seemed like five minutes or so that we stared each other down. I thought about fumbling for my camera phone, but that seemed somehow wrong. Besides, one movement on my part would have shortened our time together, I think.

Finally, with a swift decision, he leaped from the right side of the two-lane road to the left. And in one long and graceful jump, muscles rippling under his tawny fur, he disappeared into the brush and trees leading to the creek behind our home.

Afterward, as I continued along the road toward our house, I shivered a bit, literally, thinking of all the times my husband, son and I have walked that same path along the creek. Had he been there any of those times, after grabbing a drink from the water, watching us? Swishing that tail?

In some ways, I kind of hope so. After all, he’s one of us.


[photo credit – St. Mary’s College of California]

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9 thoughts on “Different Reactions to a Big Cat Sighting

  1. Just like the rare occasions when it snows in Texas – Texans grab the camera while the mountain folks try to figure out what we’re so worked up about. “Haven’t you ever seen it snow before?” “No ma’am, not since I was a little girl!”

    • So true! Do you know I STILL get excited when a storm starts rolling in, and that’s after living at the top of a mountain for 10+ years. Because before I moved here, I’d only seen snow once in my life. And now I love it. And the cold weather, too. Especially since hot flashes are a part of my life now. 🙂 How’s your DP fight coming?

      • Glad to know you still love the snow! You can take the girl out of Texas…right? My older daughter lives in Silver Plume (is that close to you?) and has become very jaded about it, but at least she will still take us skiing when we make it up there. Can’t wait to send her your books when little sister goes up for spring break – I got them last night and am loving Blue Straggler so far!

        Wish I could report that I’m taking names and kicking ass in the DP Fight, but honestly, there are good days and bad days. If I only have one a day, I still consider that a victory. My original plan was to cut back to one a day and then each week, cut out one day until I was only drinking a few a week. I recently learned the hard way that drinking three in a day still makes my face break out in big horrible zits, even though I am in my early 50’s. I’m also trying to substitute low-fat chocolate milk for my morning “fix” so that I can have my one allowed DP after work. It seems ridiculous that I cannot just walk away from this stuff, but you know how well that works out. How’s it going for you? Do you think gradual withdrawal or cold turkey works best?

  2. Wow – your daughter is one of the 6 people who live in Silver Plume? 🙂 I used to live near there at St. Mary’s Glacier/Alice. I think on the DP Fight we need to celebrate our little victories. The stuff is like crack cocaine, seriously. Cold turkey made me depressed. I’m back to drinking one a week now – but I still crave it every day, all day. The biggest help is that I won’t bring it in the house. That’s my one big rule. So since I work from home a lot, that helps. It’s the days out in the real world that are the issue now. I wish I could say I feel so much better now that I’m not drinking it much …. but I can’t say that. I feel the same, only angry. ha.

    • Little victories are huge – if you’re down to one a week you’re doing great! I’ve had better luck restricting my use to home, as I work two jobs and am often gone over 12 hours a day. I have also gradually shifted from having to have DP over Sonic ice to drinking it straight from the can, which I used to think was nasty. Cans have several advantages: they are easily portable, only 12 ounces (or 8 if you get the cute little baby DPs) and don’t come with free refills. The only time I make an exception is when I eat TexMex. That has to be washed down with a cold DP on ice and about four refills. Like you, I don’t so much feel better when I drink less, just angry that I can’t have as much as I want. Are we pathetic, or what? I’m honestly not even sure I WANT to quit!

  3. Oh.My.Gawd. We’re twins! I cannot possibly imagine eating TexMex without a cold DP on ice and multiple refills. Seriously. I draw the line of moderation there. But I do want to quit drinking it all the time. I’m a plump girl these days, and I know it’s not good for me. And I’d like to be around when my son grows up (and graduate from Aggieland, of course). Sigh … drinking more honey green tea right now and thinking “antioxidents! yes!”

  4. If you’re ever in the Fort Worth/Dallas area, it would be an honor to treat you to TexMex at the same place my grandfather used to take my mother when she was little – open since the 1920’s and completely worth the drive to the west side of Fort Worth!

  5. “The Original Mexican” on Camp Bowie in west Fort Worth. None of my friends get why I drive so far to eat TexMex, when there are so many fine chain restaurants in Arlington, where we live…sigh… Remember how “real” TexMex places smelled when you were growing up? Before black beans and squash and cilantro and “chi chi” Mexican food showed up? That’s how it smells. It’s greasy and cheesy and I would walk there if I had to. Through broken glass. Naked. Hungry now – time to start the weekend!

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