Did you hear the one about the bobcat that menaced the hiker? There is no punchline. This is just a thing that happens all too often, regularly even.
I feel like this is a frequent topic, but it bears repeating that nature is not to be trusted.
According to news reports, a human named Kyle Burges was voluntarily hiking in Utah — his car hadn’t broke down or anything that makes sense — when a cougar began chasing, lunging and charging at him. Obviously, concerned about this development, Burgess did what anyone fearing for their life would do. He pulled out his phone and recorded the six-minute encounter before finally scaring the animal away with a rock — as you do.
First, bless his heart. If a cougar is “lunging and charging” at me, I’m going to be running in the opposite direction. I will probably be crying and screaming as I go. Let’s be frank, if a possum was “lunging and charging” at me, I would react the same way. See also: snakes, owls and overly aggressive spiders.
I am not “afraid” of wildlife per se. I just have a healthy respect for it. I prefer wildlife and I mutually ignore each other. It’s not me; it’s you, Mother Nature. I just need my space.
What I absolutely hate is to be startled. If you tell me that there is a snake or bug “over there,” we’re cool. It’s when I stumble upon this information myself that things go awry.
I actually think little tiny snakes outside (with warning and personal space) are adorable. This is likely because I live in Ohio, and our roster of venomous snakes is fairly small. My mother has recently attempted to inform me that rattlesnakes do live in Ohio, but I refuse to believe it.
Bears have also existed in our neighboring states for years. It’s pretty common knowledge that they have been spotted in our state as well. I just simply pretend this is not the case. Bears can’t cross state lines because there are No bear crossings. No sign. No bears. That’s just science. Right?
Bats are a great example of my “live and let me live in denial” ideals. We have a little bat currently spending the autumn under a shutter on our porch. I can see him/her each day tucked up under the shutter.
We appreciate that little bat. It’s harming no one and just hanging out. It flies away at night and comes back during the day. Just living it’s bat life, doing bat things. We get along well because the bat knows its place (outside). I have grown quite fond of that bat.
Granted it is easier for me to accept a tiny brown bat on the porch. It appears that people in Florida regularly wake up to alligators and crocodiles on their front porches. I daresay I would be a little more alarmed. I’ll keep my bat, thank you very much.
Hilariously, Floridians will still say “but at least it doesn’t snow!”
But if I have my choice between snow drifts or alligators greeting me on my doorstep each morning, I’ll take the snow every time.
I get that during a pandemic everyone is feeling trapped indoors and trying to get outside in some fresh air with seclusion. The problem is that people are all too often traipsing about the wilderness like the guy who filmed the cougar.
They go out in the wild and then are absolutely and utterly shocked that the wilderness would like to maim them. This is not news. That’s what nature does man.
There are just some of us that are always going to be awestruck by nature and want to get as close as possible to. Then there will always be me. I am content to wave to nature from afar — or not wave. Whatever. Key to my happiness is “from afar.”
This is why I am happiest when described as “indoorsy.” If a cougar ever chases me, it’s definitely going to be big news. That thing will be inside my house.
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