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My mother had a glass of wine in her hand as she shrilled into the phone midsip, “What will you do if the bobcat comes to your door?”

“What do you mean, if he comes to my door? I don’t think I’ll invite him in, Mom. And I highly doubt he’ll come knocking on my door. They’re shy.”

“Right. But what’s your plan if that does happen? You have to think about these things, Leah.”

“Mom, I’m not worried about the bobcat that passed through my woods on Saturday. I’d be more worried about the vagrants. Men I see wandering up and down the road, ducking into little shacks.”

“It’s the economy. Everyone’s struggling, Leah. Are you really worried about men knocking on your door?”

“Not this time of year, Mom. But in the summertime, when I’m standing in my yard at 2a.m. in my nightgown to let the dog out, I look into the dark woods and wonder if anyone is out there, meandering through my land, watching me.”

“You watch too many scary movies, Leah. You’re paranoid.”

“Mom, you’ve called me asking what I’m to do if the bobcat comes to my door. Some people have suggested I get a shotgun. Of course I’d have to take a safety class first. My boss’s husband, the retired homicide detective, said the sound of a shotgun being cocked in the night is enough to scare off anyone lurking in my living room.”

“Oh, that’s brilliant, just brilliant. Good plan. The whole country is gun-crazy. Get on that bandwagon, will you,” she sniped, sipping again. “I meant mace or pepper spray,” she went on.

“This is an asinine argument, Mom,” I said, raising my voice, “I’m not getting a gun and the bobcat is not knocking on my door. I don’t watch scary movies. And I’m not getting close enough to a bobcat to spray it with mace.”

“Leah, you need to relax,” she said.

After I ended the call, I snapped the cell phone shut and tried to relax. I was relaxed, before. The fire licked the window pane of the woodstove and the funny musical comedy program chimed in the background. The dog snored and kicked her feet a little on the opposite couch. A fat cat slept in the small space between the back of the sofa and my leg. I got up and looked out the back French doors, tall panes of cold glass that let in the bitter January night air. The moon’s bright and full, I thought. It’s the kind of night for wishing, wanting. I peered into the dark woods, searching for any sign, any movement. No breeze swept through the branches of my magic trees that dance all summer. The blizzards and nor’easter had rocked them and knocked them, but none fell. Seeing the bobcat creep over the stone wall at the back of my yard had surprised me—and the dog went bananas—but I never even found its tracks. Its charcoal gray feline form moved like a panther, or my little cat, Narnia, when she sneaks past the sleeping dog. This is my life in the shadows of the western mountains of rural Maine.

Leah

Poet. Artist. Ecoheroine. Human ecologist. Spiritual mermaid and Mystic. I write about literary ecology, wetlands, water, Romantic ecology, and quirky adventures with my dog.

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