A Wild Blessing

Cougar or Mountain Lion, both mean the lone species in the genus Puma. From this wild Being we receive an invitation to feel cat-like. With spirit eyes, Mountain Lion illuminates a golden, primal vision. Shape-shift to prowl, leap, and climb. Dangle arms and legs over a low limb and watch. Soon the natural world settles, even forgets about cat presence—except Robin continuously alarms, !cat! !cat! Awakened from this daydream, leap onto soft knees, palms pressed and together we open our hearts and minds to Cougar’s majesty.

Once upon a time in the last century, an early January afternoon conjured a mature Mother Lion. She gracefully came off the steep mountain snowdrift on my right and crossed the road in front of my car. Braking softly I said, “I greet you Mother, and give thanks for meeting you.” Blessed I am, we are, for your story.

Someone else saw you earlier as predator on the neck of an Elk leaping off the mountain onto snow-covered Warm Springs Road. One or two more leaps, you and Elk went over the edge into the basin near Penny Lake. This part of your story I heard while standing in line at the Ketchum post office. I’d lived there barely two seasons, but my roots went deeper than anyone else in line. I walked in the dust of Great Ancestors including Cougars.

The day you crossed my path Mother, you were feeding on the elk-kill and carrying food uphill to your cubs. Towns-people wouldn’t leave you alone in your happy place, but I promised only love and respect. This was the year my life rocked and rolled, so you are symbolic of big relationship gifts.

That afternoon when you stopped my breath and my car, an ancient memory surfaced. The eight-foot length of you spanned the road, your tawny muscles of power took you over the steep snow bank to my left and out of sight. Your Spirit felt three million years old as you entered my primitive brain. I did not need to seek you out to feel your presence. You and I are solitary cats and we love our introversion. Thinking of five grandparents and countless other relations, I felt how your Ancestors had delighted mine for many decades.

Because I am a woman who walks with a dog, we didn’t revisit the kill area until five months later when the snow had melted. On a beautiful late spring day, searching for Scutellaria, we came across your happy place up on the mountain. Mother Lion, your cubs were half grown and far gone by then, but I climbed up on a fallen Spruce, swung my legs over and stared at an elk of bones. I imagined ravenous kitties feasting and Magpies circling. Sierra sniffed around, her low growl came with hackles raised. “Shhh-h.” We gathered the scene of cleaned and gnawed bones through our senses.

Cougar-Mountain Lion Mother invites us back several million years to the Pleistocene, a time when all animal ancestors entertained hunter-gatherers. Was that 13,000 years ago, some stories say 30,000 years ago. In the fossil records of North and South America, Mountain Lion survived the last extinction and has roamed wild for 2-4 million years. When Saber-tooth Tiger and American Cheeta did not survive the 5th mass extinction, Mountain Lion did survive.

Do you claim Cougar as Ancestor? Do you feel protective of this species? Let’s speak with reverence and gather her tales, for she has a survivor instinct worth noting. Learn cunning, stealth and invisibility. Learn resilience and motherhood from our old kindred Spirit. I carry her protection as a life-force and feel grateful for the wild canyon place with ancient Beings whose stories enchanted my immigrant great-grandparents, and all my relatives who’ve walked through that precious ecosystem.

With my heart gladdened by the Sacred Others, I hope you will share any encounters you may have had with Mountain Lions and thank you for coming to be with me and our wild relations.
Fondly, Gail