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Here Kitty, Kitty — Now With Blurry Photo!

Lame focus with a zoom lens from a moving car…
but the highlighted area shows the cat as it disappeared into the trees.

For the first time in my life, I’ve seen a mountain lion in the wild.

OK, “in the wild” is stretching it a little. The big cat was in somebody’s pasture, perhaps 100 feet from the road, and we humans were safely within the confines of my Ford Lemonstar minivan. But still, it gave me goosebumps.

Thursday afternoon, Kelly and I and our older son and his girlfriend trooped out to Bella Vista Farms to deliver a donation to Chic Miller, the amazing woman who tends hundreds of rescue animals on a rolling spread between Igo and Cottonwood. Kelly keeps a donation box for Bella Vista Farms at her Pink Hollyhock blog here, and the contributions give us an excuse to go see Chic and her petting zoo once in a while.

We had the usual great time, smooching the llamas and petting the dogs and cats and goats and ponies. By the time we left, the sun was low in the sky.

We’d gone a couple of hundred yards on the narrow road that leads out of Bella Vista Farms when Kelly spotted the mountain lion upslope to our left. The tawny cat was out in the sunshine, in high relief against the pasture, which was vivid green from the recent rains. The mountain lion looked healthy and well-fed and its long tail was fluffy and fat. After a minute or so, it slinked off to some nearby trees, running low to the ground like a housecat, and we lost sight of it.

Wow. Quite an experience. One that would’ve felt much different if we’d been hiking rather than driving. But unforgettable just the same.

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