Ok, I know this is a dated story and yes, I'm cheating today and re-hashing something old, but like I always say, we all eat the same kind of foods at different times, so why not re-read an old story once in a while.
This past year has been a good one for me. Many of my personal dreams and ideas are coming to pass and I must say I look forward to the new year with a new fervor and delight. I know that regardless of the everyday occurrences in one's life, the overall outcome is still gonna be alright. I'm secure in my faith and beliefs in God and in him I place all my trust, well, sort of, well, almost anyway, unless one decides to tempt fate and do something stupid. I just hope my stupid days in life are over.
I had enough of those times as a young boy, but I have had a new chill run up my neck a couple of weeks ago that made me re-think my moves and habits up at the ranch.
Now I need to preface this story with a fact. For those of you who do not know me, I am pretty straight laced in my lifestyle, so I can tell you this story with a straight face and a clear mind.
The family ranch is located in Independence, which is north of Brenham about twelve miles. We are in Washington County and our property backs up to a creek named Yegua Creek, which is the spillway for Lake Somerville. (Yegua is pronounced Yeah Wall for all of you folks who can't speak Texan. Another confusing issue is Kuykendahl, pronounced Kur Ken Dial for those of you new to our area) The land is really isolated and has boundaries surrounded by several thousand acres on all sides that are inhabited by less than ten or so people. There is no though traffic and only one way in and one way out. During hard rains we can actually get flooded in, as the water rushes over the road. We are in a fairly remote area for these parts.
About the second week of November, on a cool, crisp afternoon, I was leaving the ranch just about sunset. As I drove down the one lane road approaching our gate, my mind was in a numbed state because I had just finished a couple of hours of relaxation while doing my chores.
Now I know that statement is a bit contradictory. You may ask how can I relax while working? For me, personally, working with my cattle or just messing around outside is relaxing. It can be blazing hot or freezing cold, but if I am away from my desk at work, the pressures of life seem to flow away while I am busting my body doing manual labor. Now all you people who work outside all day probably do think I'm a bit crazy feeling that way, but it's true. I enjoy the manual labor even though it's hard work. My mind is free and all I need to worry about is making sure I don't get myself tangled up in tractor parts or barbed wire and make sure one of my cows doesn't knock me down and hurt me.
Anyway, I finally made it to the gate and got out to lock it. After closing the gate and placing the padlock, I turned to walk back to my truck and I happened to take one last view of the land ahead, as a movement caught my eye in the brush.
"What is that," I thought and my mind immediately said "oh, it's just an old coyote".
I again surveyed the animal and said to myself "wait, a coyote doesn't slink though the grass like that!" Wow, look at the size of that creature! Look at its tail! That sucker has got to be at least seven or eight feet long! That's, that's, that's a cougar!"
And as suddenly as my mind grasped hold of what I was seeing it had already slipped into the next clump of bushes and I did not see it again.
The animal was a beautiful, extremely dark coated animal, almost black in color and it was in a stalking mode. I don't know if it was approaching a rabbit, squirrel, bird or what, but the cat I saw was an honest to goodness mountain lion or cougar, if you will!
As I drove away in somewhat disbelief I was a bit taken back by what I had just seen. I was reluctant to share this with anybody as I know they would think I am crazy!
After a week or so I got up the nerve to talk to a hog hunter in the area named Zeke. When I mentioned this to Zeke he went to cussin' and sputterin' about wanten' to wrap that cat around the local biologist's neck!
It seems Zeke has seen this cat for several years, but the local authorities have told him that cougars are no longer in this area. I think Zeke is pleased that two of us have now seen this cat.
I'm still secure in my personal faith but this sighting has made me re-think those quiet walks through the woods. I think I may start carrying some added protection. A faith-booster if you will…