Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Showdown at Bobcat Creek

             The Coen Brothers have a new True Grit.  Jeff Bridges is the new John Wayne.  I don’t know if Bridges is tougher than Wayne, but neither one of them is as tough as a Bobcat.

                  Bobcats have a swagger, like a big time gunslinger in a small town bar.  Nobody ever messes with a Bobcat. One morning there was a big one, looking like a small lion sitting on his haunches in the middle of the field below the swimming pool, watching the sunrise.  His field, his sky, no question.

           Even mountain lions don’t mess with Bobcats.  Too tough, and too much trouble.  Nothing to eat but gristle and claws.

                 The first one I saw was on the back deck, around the size of a 30 lb. dog, walking like it owned the house.  It saw me looking through the plate glass and went down the steps.  No hurry; just happened to think of something else it had to do.

                  We’d just brought home two little Maine coon cat kittens and they were out back in the garage.  I went out the front door and the bobcat was standing in front of the garage looking at the two little kittens inside. 

I shooed the Bobcat away and the little tiger left slowly,  looking back over its shoulder, annoyed, like “I was gonna eat those little kitties.  So?”

                  Hidden Villa is a thousand acres of open space across the valley, and there’s a nice creek with a path alongside where I used to walk. Big oaks and bay trees arch overhead with an occasional shaft of sunlight.  If you know where to look there’s trout in the pools. The creek runs year round and makes a pretty sound. Just enough so a bobcat, just about to cross the creek on a fallen log, didn’t hear me.

                We saw each other around the same time.  I stopped, the bobcat made an easy turn, bounded off the log, and sat down.  We were about ten yards apart, separated by the stream so neither one of us worried about the other.  And I thought I’ll never get a better chance to look at a bobcat.  So I stared at him and he stared back.  And I thought maybe, if I stare at him long enough, his face will tell me what he's thinking.  

                  Fat chance. The bobcat would have been a good poker player, his face as still as a Chinese mask.  We looked at each other for another minute or two and he casually looked up, over my head.  Then back down at me, then up again, as if there was something up on the steep slope behind me. 

                  He did this again and I started to worry, thinking  maybe there’s another bobcat up there and the bobcat on the other side of the creek is saying, “jump on his head so I can cross the damn creek.”  Whatever it was up there behind me I didn’t want to spook it by turning around.  I thought, "he's just bluffing."  

                 Then I thought, "cats don't bluff." The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and after another minute I turned and walked away.  Not quite running, but not hanging around either.

                  The Bobcat shrugged, hopped back on the log and trotted across the creek.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what that bobcat was doing with the looking up over your head then back atcha. I wonder if he was trying to get you to look that way to give him time to pounce or to distract you. OR, maybe you were intimidating him. Cats don't like to hold eye contact.

When either a cat or dog is meeting your gaze, that's not a real safe position to be in. I don't know about cats, but with a dog, you are safer looking away.

Enjoying your blog a lot. Found it through FOP.

Janet Fish