Saturday, September 5, 2015
In the velvet blackness of the predawn hours this morning I heard Moose issue a muffled woof from the sun room. He has a perfect view of the driveway and diligently surveys the area all night and into the morning. He waits for something or someone to meander into view so that he can warn us of the intrusion. It could be a feral cat, an opossum, a raccoon, a deer or any other of the many nocturnal creatures that inhabit this area of Big Creek. He is a terrific watch dog and little happens out front that he does not report on day or night with often hysterical barking. This morning I rolled out of bed walked through the shadowy house and let all three dogs out into the driveway. Like being shot from cannons they always explode out the front door with great enthusiasm frequently almost taking the door with them.
Stepping out onto the front porch into the cool early morning air as I sometimes do I gazed up into the night sky and saw hanging high a perfect opalescent pearl like half moon glowing above. The moon’s reflected light helped illuminate the driveway and the surrounding area but still I could see no interlopers. This past week the same thing happened just before we retired to bed. Then as well we never saw anything in the area however the next morning one of our cats was gone. Frida had disappeared and has been gone ever since not leaving behind even the slightest trace, not a tooth, hair, eyeball or even a meow. Friends up on the mountain behind us said that they saw a large black bear pass their house that night but nothing else. Perhaps there is a cat eating bear in the vicinity but more likely we have coyotes back in at Big Creek. Neighbors who own the farm up the creek from us had ten or twelve yard cats that lived in and around the many old unpainted out buildings and barns. They also have cows and dogs freely living in the fenced in pastures unencumbered. Their cats slowly vanished in the nights until every single one was gone.
It could have been a bobcat or even a cougar. We rarely see bobcats and have never seen a cougar although friends have sighted them, or so they say. Occasionally there is a photograph in the local paper that picture a cougar in the back yard of someone’s house under a clothes line frequently near a chicken coup. So we know that they exist even though they are usually thought of as being extinct up here. We live adjacent to many thousands of acres of uninhabited primitive land and this sort of thing happens frequently. One day the cat is lounging in the sun on the rail surrounding the house watching chipmunks and the next she is a fading memory.
Drawing by P.C. Daughtry