I go through spells with my love/hate relationship with the great outdoors. I absolutely adore Spring and I really like fall but Summer and Winter… not so much.
I love love love going for my nature walks but felt like I haven’t done so in months since it’s gotten so hot. Well, first I got sick and didn’t do my walking and then it just got to freaking hot. I don’t mind walking when it’s warm out but when you walk outdoors and it feels like your breath gets sucked right out of your body or the air feels like it’s burning the inside of your nose and lungs as soon as you breath in, not so much. I can do without that thank you very much.
I love going for long walks out on the golf course early in the morning before it gets hot and the mist and fog are still lingering in the air. I love seeing where there are spider webs in the grass that are shrouded in dew or in the trees. The play of the light on the moisture in the trees and on the ground is just gorgeous.
I love walking in the Spring when the flowers are blooming and the woods are teeming with life, be it plant or animal. I walk a lot on the closed golf course behind our house. I have seen all manner of wildlife out there. I have seen lots of deer, all kinds of birds, including large hawks and egrets and I even walked right up on a coyote once. I think I scared it as much as he scared me. He turned and hightailed it out of there before I could say boo!
When I used to walk early early early in the morning when the sun was just coming up and I mean just coming up (I’d have to take a flashlight for the first few minutes to get down to the golf course without hurting myself since there were no lights because it was closed) if I timed it just right I’d see beavers frolicking in the little creek down on the bottom of the golf course. And they were BIG. I never realized how big beavers were but they were larger than my cats and more like the size of like a small cocker spaniel. I had no clue they were that big! Of course as soon as they heard/saw/smelled me they would dive down in the water so I only got a quick peek at them. It wasn’t like they were hanging around for coffee or anything. They had to get back to building their dams and rerouting the waterways down there! They were busy little beavers…literally.
I think the most frightened I ever was down there was about 2 years ago I decided to go picking blackberries about 7 p.m. I’ll never forget it was a Friday night and I had already had a couple of mishaps that night. I had run face first into a HUGE spider web that was sprawled all the way across the cart path. I hadn’t seen it because it was getting kind of dusky. Good thing there wasn’t anyone else on the course because I started doing “the spidey dance”. You know the one? Where you’re flailing your arms around like you’ve got some kind of neurological disorder? Or you’re Urkel trying to dance? And making those high pitched little girls screams that can only be heard by dogs? Yeah… that’s the one.
I had picked about ¾ of my gallon bucket of blackberries and it was quickly starting to get dark. After my walking in to the spiderweb I decided to take a “short cut” through the “power lines” instead of sticking to the cart path because it would cut about a half mile off my walk and I didn’t want to get stuck out there on the abandoned course after dark. It’s kind of a steep hill up the power line and then back down the other side. I was walking up the hill when I heard a rustling and then a huge buck and two smaller deer come bounding out of the woods and scare the crap out of me. Good thing I had my O.C. Stick with me! What’s my O.C. Stick you ask? Well, I often had to ward off a few yippy little dogs and you never know when else you might need it so I found this long like 4 or 5 foot stick out in the woods and have been using it ever since. Hubby calls it my O.C. stick ask in “Oh, Crap!” because that is what I usually yell right before I have to use it to ward off the pesky little yippy dogs that are trying to bite me. They took like three bounds to get all the way across the width of the power line and then I was on my way again. I almost dropped my berries which kind of ticked me off, but, I held on to them.
There did happen to be some more blackberries growing at the top of the power line so I stopped for a few minutes to pick those up and as I was leaning over just a l i t t l e too far my bucket slid down my stick and I spilled about a third of them. Dammit Jim! I picked up what I could find of them but it started getting way too dark so I left and was hurriedly trying to make it back home. As I’m making my way back down the other side of the hill I slipped and slid about 10 feet almost doing a perfect split and losing almost the amount of berries I went to the trouble of picking back up!
I finally pull myself back up off the hill and as I start back down the hill I looked up and across the golf course and guess what I see coming out of the thicket on the other side of the golf course… I’m talking about the length of a football field….. a freaking COUGAR!! I’m not talking a middle aged woman stalking a younger man here. That I could handle! I’m talking a full fledged cougar cat, panther, puma, or whatever in the heck you might want to call it. And it was BIG. It probably weighed about 65 or 75 lbs. If it had stood on it’s hind legs it would have been as tall as me. I FROZE. It looked at me and it was NOT afraid. It slowly sauntered about 10 feet towards me then turned to it’s right and slowly walked up the cart path until it got on the other side of the creek that was there and then jumped into the thicket.
I had to walk right by where it had been in order to get home so I as quickly as I could hurried across the bottom/field and back onto the cart path. As I got to the cart path I heard a rustling in the trees above me and my first thought was “Oh, God… it’s stalking me! It doubled back around and it’s been waiting for me!” Let’s just say it’s a good thing I had my Oh CRAP stick with me… I might need it later to scrape the crap outta my pants! Thankfully as my heart jumped to my throat one of those big cranes jumped off the branch so I wasn’t being stalked. I think I made it that last mile home in record time.
When I told my neighbor about the cougar I’d seen he assured me that we don’t have cougars around here. Well, someone must have forgotten to tell him because he surely was here. I guess he didn’t realize he wasn’t supposed to be here. He tried to tell me it was a bobcat but I told him, ya know, I grew up in the country so I know the difference between a bobcat and a cougar. A bobcat has pointy ears and a cougar has rounded ears. This cat had rounded ears. A bobcat has a bob tail (hence the name) and a cougar has a long tail. This cat had a long tail. A bobcat is usually a lighter color like tan. This one was darker like a light brown. A bobcat is more like 25 or 30 pounds and this cat was at least 65 pounds. Definitely NOT a bobcat!
Even despite this little “incident”… I still love nature and I love walking in the woods. I just make sure I take my Oh Crap stick when I go. You never know when you’re gonna need it. Maybe I could take some TP to go with it?
This post was brought to you by Jen from Sprite’s Keeper and The Spin Cycle.