Celebrating Easter is a sure sign that spring has arrived or is just around the corner.
Of course, the signs of spring are already all around us; Singing birds, flowering trees, and longer, warmer days. This brings us outside to enjoy the mild weather for walks around the neighborhood or parks, gardening, going to the ball fields, or simply to soak up the warm sunshine.
Spring is also a time of new life. The local farms are full of newborn calves, lambs, and fuzzy chicks. And here on the edge of the forest, the wildlings are being born, too. Watching a doe with her spotted fawn picking their way through a field of wildflowers, or a family of raccoons peering down from the trees, is a tender testament to the season. Baby birds, squirrels, and ducklings tug at even the toughest heart strings.
Sights like these are one of the reasons I am a country gal at heart. One of the first sights Hubby and I saw when we were deciding whether or not to move to our little piece of paradise was a field of cow elk, new calves by their sides, with Mount Rainier looming in the distance. It was love at first sight.
Once in a while we get to see something really special, like the family of skunks crossing the gravel road that we live on, tails held high, all in a row. Or the mother bear I saw last spring in the woods behind the house, with her tiny, teddy bear cub. I wisely kept my distance.
Early one beautiful spring morning, a few years ago, I was in my kitchen enjoying a second cup of coffee after Hubby left for work, when I heard my two big dogs barking and went out to investigate. Was I ever upset when I saw that they had chased a neighbor cat up the big Hemlock tree about 20 feet from the house. I told those bad dogs to ‘go lay down’ and then tried to coax that poor, terrified cat down from the branch just above my head.
I should have remembered my glasses, but even without them I could see that cat had an unusually thick tail tucked tightly around him and seemed to be on the large side, but I attributed it to the thick, fluffy, buff colored fur I could see on his underside. His large whiskered face was turned away from me, so I soothingly told him that everything would be alright and he didn’t have to worry about those big, bad dogs anymore and he could come on down now.
He turned around to look at me and his tail came down, all three feet of it, and all at once I realized I was sympathizing with a half grown cougar! But like all babies, he was lapping up all that sympathy and looking at me like he was the most pitiful creature on earth, with big, sad, golden eyes and ears hanging down in a dejected sort of way.
I don’t remember how I got back into the house. I vaguely remember floating backwards, calling the dogs along with me, all the while talking soothingly to our little guest while I tried not to hyperventilate.
It took me quite a while to recover and peek back out the door, but by then baby cougar was gone. I shudder to think of what mama might have been doing while all that was going on. I’m sure if she made a move, my faithful companions would have disobeyed orders.
Now, I never leave the house without my glasses. And I always let the dogs go first. Because you never know what sweet little baby you might see this time of year, if you just take a closer look.
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