Now we don't live on the edge of the world, but you can certainly see it from here. Just hold your hand over your eyes to stop the glare of the sun and look west. It's there. That fact was brought home to me very recently because a cougar seems to have moved into our community.
No, I don't mean a middle-aged woman with a taste for tanning beds, martinis and 20-something pool boys. I mean a mountain lion. One of those big cats that you see in the movies perched on a cliff getting ready to pounce on you as you walk by. A wild cat.
Apparently one of our neighbors heard a strange sound - almost like a woman screaming - one day last week. He went to investigate and found a mountain lion just a few miles from home. It had apparently been injured, but he didn't stick around long enough to find out how.
Now I'm really freaked out - do I dare let MY livestock out anymore? Will my kitties and dogger be somebody's afternoon snack? I've watched enough National Geographic to know you should fear anything nicknamed the "mountain screamer."
Strangely enough the subject of mountain lions had come up in conversation at fellowship after church a few Sundays ago. One of the people sitting at our table stated: "You don't want to mess with a mountain lion. If you run from them they'll attack. If you see them bounding on their haunches, it's already too late. You're lunch. It's better to turn and stare down the critter. Charge and throw rocks if necessary."
The thought of intimidating a 160-pound killing machine with a nasty glare and a handful of pebbles didn't seem conducive to survival to me.
I guess my chances of bumping into a cougar amid the flatlands of western Minnesota have recently increased. So now - besides sauteing myself with DEET to ward off West Nile virus and Lyme disease - I must also prepare for a possible puma attack while working in my back yard. You see, our property fronts the river along which the mountain lion was first seem.
It's a jungle out there. I envision one of these fierce cats eyeing me from behind a tree and thinking: "Mmmm, spiral-cut ham (me), brisket (Daisy the German Shepherd) and Vienna Sausages (my kitties, Lucy & Simon). An all-you-can-eat-buffet!"
In the meantime I'll continue to consider ways on how to best protect myself in case of a wild cat attack. First on the list is to get rid of the bacon perfume!!