Good morning and welcome to the happiest place on the earth. On Tuesday morning I decided to take a trip to Four Mile Beach. I figured what the heck, even if the clouds weren’t that exotic, there would still be hundreds of gulls for me to Barry bonds with. When I crossed the railroad tracks and headed down the path to the beach I immediately spotted a big cat (photo #1) about 50 yards away. Now, I’ve seen a bobcat before at Four Mile but when it saw me it ran into the brush faster than an Exxon executive leaving an Earth Day picnic. But this fellow didn’t run and hide like a Bush spokesman, instead he rambled along the path with me in hot pursuit. And since I had downed my Wheaties that morning, I was feeling fresh and excited, like Kool and the Gang at the Grammys.
I followed this nocturnal hunter for a couple of hundred yards. He headed down the beach and onto the sand before heading back into the brush. As you can tell by my shots, I was close enough to observe his spots, his distinctive color pattern and count his freckles. Much like myself, bobcats are shy, solitary, generally elusive animals. The name comes from the short, bobbed tail or from the surname Robert. They are members of the cat family along with lions, leopards, pumas, lynxes, jaguars, cheetahs, tigers and white sox.
Throughout this tracking experience this wild animal would stop and stare at me. I thought, it’s just a bobcat, not a mountain lion, he’s not going to attack me. As we headed up the slope of the cliff above the ocean he stopped and turned. I was shooting away like Ansel Adams on meth. I had him perfectly framed in my view finder and was already thinking up the subject title for the blog. All of a sudden, he starts to move in my direction. I’m thinking, uh, oh, did I miss this episode of “When Animals Attack? I’m not a outdoorsman, I’m a blogger, dammit. All of a sudden, I’m getting Marlon Perkins flashbacks. Fortunately, this wildcat stopped in his tracks as he may have been intimidated by my Docker shorts and Hillary Duff sweatshirt.
After seeing my life flash before my eyes I scooted out of there faster than a lawyer on a duck hunt with Dick Cheney and made my way back to the beach. It was low tide and the harbor seals were basking and robbins on the sea shelfs by the sea shore. The last shot is actually from an earlier visit but I thought I’d throw it in to celebrate the fact that I’m not writing this from a hospital bed. As you can see from the photos whenever I come in contact with harbor seals, they never take their eyes off me. It reminded me of my hand modeling days. But here’s the kicker. One of my Arizona-based field scouts emailed an article about a rabid bobcat attacking two hikers yesterday in the Santa Rita mountains. Wow. I don’t know about you, but I always find that series of deep puncture wounds always spoils my day. But maybe that’s just me.
The bottom line is that while I was shooting away like Chuck Connors in “The Rifleman” all those shots of the cat were actually out of focus. My camera instead was zooming in on the the flowers and brush in front of Miss Kitty. I was excited as a schoolgirl when I came home and downloaded these shots. I already had National Geographic on the speed dial. I was disappointed, kind of like when I saw my SAT scores. But in the words of Chelsea Clinton and Fleetwood Mac, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, it’ll be here, better than before, yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” Or in the words of yours truly, don’t put off today what you can put off tomorrow.
So have a tremendous sports weekend, enjoy the final matzo brei filled days of Passover and we’ll catch you for sunrise Monday. As for me, I’ll be hunting the big cats. Either that or watching enough NBA playoff basketball to make your eyes bleed. Catch you down low. Aloha.