The Cougar

She comes here every morning Never by the same path, but by whatever design leads her footprints to this place. There are those who would say it is her favourite spot. There are those who would say that those who say such things are fools. No matter; none of it means anything to her. The hows and whys do not take flight in the depths of her imagination Only being. So she is what she is, and she dreams only of being a perfection of herself.

Here, at the top of the cliff, she is complete in her aloneness. Time and experience have made her a fluid mixture of stealth and shadow. She is neither seen nor heard. At least not until it is too late for her prey.  She had a good kill yesterday, a deer too weak to run far. She ate well and covered the rest to save. Snow is not the best medium for that purpose. Others would find the carcass; this she knew. Fox and raven, even hare or squirrel if it was cold enough, but not now A hare could also be a meal. Here in this land she decides her place in life And death. She will challenge any who come into her space. Soon, though she might allow another. Her cubs have grown and gone, and she has begun to feel the stirring in her belly. She will leave her scent upon the trails and see who comes to call. If he is worthy, she will allow him a few days – accept his gift and send him on his way. If not, she will simply chase the interloper from her territory – with a good bat from her paw to send him on his way. She will see. Solitude is her companion.

A flash of red from across the canyon stirs her from her thoughts. Movement at the cliff edge. It is one of the two-legged creatures. A human. Instinct tells her to flee These humans bring death wherever they go. It is well known among the forest. Still, something keeps her rooted and she stays. To watch. There is something about this one, something strange. He moves deliberately among the rocks. His steps are well placed, as if he is at home here too. There is something else, though. Something unforeseen. This one knows the dance. A strange quality among these humans, where everything is forgotten. He would not kill without need, and he seems to know the patterns in the movements around him. He brings a sense of peace, healing to this land. How very unusual.

From her place in the crevice she is hidden. Still, she knows he can feel her, sense her presence. Instinct begs her to stay, to melt back into the forest, but no. Perhaps, for a moment, for this one, for this once, she will rise. And let him see.

Mike 24/02/2002

(NB: This story goes with this image:

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