Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daniel In the Lion's Den

For the last few minutes I've had this nagging voice in my head telling me to turn around and head back to the car.  Is the voice my muscles screaming for fuel from the Fig Newton's, or my mind wanting a lowered PRE from the chocolate covered espresso beans, or my body realizing the amount of elevation I'm loosing is going to make the return journey looooong?  My watch beeps: 10 miles have passed since I left the car and this motivates me to turn around and begin the long slow climb back to it.  After a few minutes, an old, brown sedan comes flying down the road from the Ramona Indian Reservation, I throw a chakka and smile as they pass.  Just after this I notice a line of fresh tracks on the shoulder.  So far I've seen: bobcat, coyote, fox, squirrel, but these are bigger and I immediately recognize the asymmetrical foot shape and triple lobed heel pad as Mountain Lion.  I look at my watch, it's been half a mile since I turned around, less than ten minutes since I was in this exact spot and there were NO mountain lion tracks.  I remove my headphones, throw my hands above my head and clap a steady 4/4 beat while hooting on beats 1 and 3, constantly scanning the 360 degrees around me.  My hypothesis is that the mountain lion was actually stalking me and the brown sedan moved it off the road.  When I turned around, I passed it and, with the wind at my back, I was able to safely return to my car.

On the drive home, I replay the morning.  Did I have any intuitive thoughts or feelings regarding being consumed for breakfast by a 140lb. cougar?  Maybe.  Before starting my run, I stopped to get gas.  While I was waiting for the pump to fill my tank, a truck pulled up and the driver said he needed gas, but had no money.  I told him I was sorry,  I didn't have any cash. Something moved me to my wallet inside the car to a five dollar bill which I pulled out. handed him and said good luck.  Not even a gallon of gas, I thought.  It's like Margaret and I each gave him $2.50 was how I justified giving a total stranger, who didn't appear to need my cash the $5.  Good karma for the day, I guess.  DG

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