Under seige


09.18.15  Just after I’ve bookmarked spotthestation@gmail.nasa.gov, so I can step out on the dark terrace and see the space station fly by overhead in the clear starlight skies, this mountain lion arrived, outside our bathroom.   We saw a large dead deer out the window at daylight yesterday morning.  Don went out to get a closer look, and yelled as a lion ran up the hill.  It was a fresh kill; strangled at the neck.  (That’s been some comfort to me as we’ve watched from the upstairs window as the lion devours its insides.)  The video we made was posted on Facebook, and it’s been quite the conversation with friends and family today!

Our next door neighbor would have shot it already, but he’s off hunting birds.  We called Fish & Wildlife and told them our story, and how this morning the lion was standing on the welcome mat at the front door on our porch, and didn’t they want to come and drag the lion’s cache away.  They said “no”.  Their suggestion was that at least two people should make a lot of noise, have pepper spray, and drag the carcass away–the further away the better.  Don texted a few nearby friends for help, but as the morning wore on with no response, I knew I would have to be one of those people.  I called the neighbor lady next door, who hasn’t left for the season–the same one who helped us put out the forest fire last Fall–and she came over and made noise with me with  pots and pans, and we held the pepper spray canister high in the air so the lion could see it, and we guarded Don as he drug the heavy, stinking carcass away from the house, and into the hollow further up the property.  Step 2, when a friend returns his call, will be to load it up on the trailer and drive it to some forest service road and dump it.  It can’t come soon enough for me.  And, with our hunting neighbor returning tomorrow night, it can’t come soon enough for the lion.

Our kitties have not been seen through this siege.  We have food for them up in the garage, but it remains untouched.  I stand tentatively out on the porch now and then, looking for them.  I know where the lion bedded down last night.  I know he is looking at me.  Twice this morning, I heard the crows squawking overhead when I saw the lion on the move, so I am listening hard.  Don left for town and I’m keeping it quiet in the house, on high alert.  I will be glad when this is over.  Yet, like the times I’ve encountered grizzly bears while hiking, heard wolves in the night, and saw a wolverine, I know this has been a magnificent moment.  Once the carcass is gone, the crows are quiet in the trees, and our kitties are safely home, that is.

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