Lions and tigers and bears and things

Any minute, Liam or Madeline will be coming down the stairs. I am at my laptop at the dining room table, and it is 7:35 am. That I am still home at this time on the morning of a school day is rare; usually I am at the Y. But I have been staying up later and later and consequently, sleeping in has been more and more appealing.


Lake Marie State Park. Since I didn?t want to spend the night Sunday night, I left the cabin about 6:00 pm and walked to my car. It was after dark, and my car was parked up the road (and up the hill), about a third of a mile away. I didn?t think about how scary that walk would be until I set out.
The drive home, I was eager to get that done. That is mostly what I was thinking about. I hadn?t thought much about the walk except for concern about slipping and falling. The trails were covered with a combination of packed, glazed snow and ice. I had some trouble with slipping on the group walk that we all had taken together to the lake and back at dusk.
So, we were all out in the front of the cabin. It was dark, the campfire blazed. Time for me to go. Dorothea offered me a headlamp, which I strapped to my Tilley hat, coalminer style. To a chorus of goodbyes and hugs, I set off down the trail the light from my head bouncing on the trail like the ball progressing over the words of a song at the bottom of a television screen during Barney.
Sure enough, when I got to the first dip, the first little downward hill in the path, I fell on my ass. I fell several more times before I got to the car. Could have been because the soles of my boots were worn out.
So I am bop-bop-bopping along. Dark. Stars are out. I am instantly alone. Start thinking of wolves, coyotes, cougars, bears?well, bears were hibernating, wolves unlikely, coyotes very likely around but very equally likely of no concern to me (they?d be more interested in mice, probably) not to mention that they are all daytime creatures anyway. Deer, skunks, and raccoons would be more like it. But I couldn?t get the cougar idea to go away.
Then it happened?there was a shared rustling sound in the brush to the left of the path. Probably, I startled a deer that had been nested for the night. But the cougar idea amplified in my mine.
I took the car keys out of my pocket and started jingling them. The car seemed to be parked much farther away than I remembered. Just in case the headlamp and the jingling keys weren?t enough, I started singing. And I kept singing until I got to the car.
The drive home was okay, a little unpleasant because of the slushy conditions, but I made it. Cougars? I should be more afraid of McDonald?s.