So yesterday's post was a little random. Bronchitis, sick kids, holiday crazies, and separation from family. It all added up to me feeling in awe of the road to our daughter. I am so incredibly thankful to spend this Christmas with her. I realize I haven't gone into how our adoption processed all that much. And, rather than fill you in at this time--I'm going to completely change subjects.
Please bare with me. I want to talk to you about an interesting phenomenon:
My fear of cougars.
Having spent the past 12 years or so in eastern Oregon; I've had a chance to learn a little bit about this big cat. I'm not an expert. I've never been hunting a day in my life. But, what I know is from my own experience. People in Portland say we are lucky to have such a majestic creature in our back yards. They are right; what beautiful animals! However, obviously they can be dangerous. And, I harbor a totally exaggerated fear of them. One of my favorite things to do in our valley, was go on hikes with my girlfriends. Imagine waking up at the crack of dawn to meet up with a buddy. Walking five minutes and being surrounded by the sounds of the forest. To be able to stand back, as a herd of elk tramples across the path ahead of you. To hear the calves call to their mamas. The smells. The sounds. The beauty. *ahhhh*
Part of the beauty of La Grande and the surrounding areas, is also the Mule Deer. They are everywhere. In your backyard, in your front yard, down town, at school. Everywhere. A couple years ago, I had just finished a nighttime jog. And, as I came around a corner to head home, very nearly missed running smack dab into a huge buck. He was hanging out in the middle of my street. I stopped about two feet from him, and slowly backed up. I appreciate that he didn't go all postal on me, and instead just dismissed me disdainfully as he snorted and walked away. Deer, deer, deer.
They attract cougars.
The Grand Ronde Valley is one of the largest completely enclosed valleys in the world. Mountains are in everyone's backyard. It is seriously some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. There are deer, elk, wild turkeys, and of course...cougars close by. My hiking buddies and I have walked along snow-covered paths with cattle, deer, dog, cougar and our own tracks all intertwined. I've even seen the leftovers from cougar kills.
Being a fairly small person...I often felt like I would be the prey in any given group. Cougar bait. When we would go on hikes, I constantly checked trees, made noise and scanned the horizon. There's just something SO creepy about the thought of being stalked.
I guess I'm not alone.
I found out that a certain guy I know has a similar fear in his new home.
"They have cougars in Afghanistan?" You say?
Not this kind...