LionessAfter a peaceful and restorative holiday break, my transition back into our daily rhythm took an unexpected detour. Retuning home from a Blessingway on Sunday, I noticed a new “Mountain Lion Activity” warning sign but thought little of it as these powerful, wild creatures sometimes venture into town but are rarely a problem. At my door, I was greeted by two very excited children who declared not only was the lion still in the neighborhood; it was on our street. Yikes!

We kept the little ones, the dog, and the chickens indoors for the rest of the day just to be on the safe side, but we assumed that the lion had returned to the hills. Around dusk I was schlepping loads of stuff from the car to the house to the garage and back until I was greeted on the street by a neighbor and two sheriffs who suggested I get back inside because the lion was sitting on a rock wall at the edge of my yard. He was no doubt watching me. I had not been courageously going about my work despite this fellow’s presence; I had been oblivious.

From that moment on, however, I have had ample opportunity to examine my courage (or lack thereof) in the face of my fear. I have faced many fears in my life and relished the rewards of my fortitude. But, when it comes to lions, I’d be the first to admit cowardice. I am fascinated albeit afraid of these ghost cats. Since moving to lion country, I have altered my running routes to stay in town, tamed my love of solo walks in the hills, and kept my children close. Yet I am drawn to the feline power that dominates this rugged landscape.

Sometimes I do take heart (and a sturdy stick) and head into the wild alone because that is where my soul comes alive. But what if the fearsome wild pays a visit to your home? To be sure, it is a call to adventure. Full sensory awareness accompanies each step outside your door. Your surroundings come alive with new sounds and sightings. The inner lioness is awakened, and she is fierce and focused.

As the lion continued to hang out on our block through the night and into the next day, I became increasingly called to action. Late night calls to the Department of Wildlife and pow-wows with the neighbors roused adrenal and awe. I delighted in the new layer of community that formed as we rallied around our lion. Courage comes easier in company.


photo compliments of Jul Swann

Eventually, the 95 pound kitty was tranquilized and relocated. I am not convinced that we have seen the last of him and certainly not the last of his kind. I feel less asleep as I move through our sleepy town. You never know who may be watching.