The Animal Before Me

BobcatAfter the climb up into the chaparral and a right turn into the wide I always stand open-eyed, mouth hanging at the absolute, simple beauty of a field with a light breeze combing through the grasses. And that’s how I was standing when an animal caught my attention walking along at a distance from me. I was quiet as my shoes would let me be, getting closer and closer—young mountain lion or big bobcat? You know how it is when you think you’re alone and then you realized you’re not? That’s how the animal responded to me. But that was after I saw her jump up and come down on what I think was a gopher hole. Sadly, she came up empty-mouthed. It was a few steps later she turned her tawny head toward me and stopped and we both stood where we were staring at the other. Pointy ears, small tail: bobcat. Then off she ran into the brush and though I went looking, she was gone.