Early one recent morning, I looked out the kitchen window and saw an enormous cat sitting in the breezeway between our house and garage. Its back was towards me, but I could tell that it was watching the bird feeders, no doubt sizing up the breakfast menu. It must have sensed me there, because it suddenly swiveled its head and stared straight at me with yellow eyes. I felt that I was gazing directly into the wild. I was five feet away from a bobcat.
A second later, it slipped away around the side of the garage but not before I noticed that it had a bobbed tail and little black tufts on the tips of its ears. Its fur was a blur of dots and stripes. Though the bobcat is the most common wildcat in North America, it also tends to be the most elusive – solitary, territorial, hunting primarily in the twilight and dawn hours. I felt lucky to have seen it at such close range, to have shared a moment – and a look – with something so untamed and beautiful and free.
The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Thank you this is beautiful
Good to hear from you, Gwen. Is it spring yet in Bryn Athyn?
What a poem — so well marching the encounter of this magnificent beast.
It’s one of my favorites. Worth rereading at least once a year.
Pretty exciting being so close to such a beautiful, cool creature and a little dangerous.
We have a lot of wild chipmunks around our house.
Dear AWOTC: We have a lot of chipmunks, too. Or did until the bobcat stopped by.
What an amazing experience and what a gorgeous poem.
What a wonderful experience,Thank you Liza!
Really nice to hear from you, Hannah. Thanks so much!
Poem brought tears to my eyes.
Today in the middle of
Tribeca I was keeping pace with a kestrel who landed on the traffic light and sat there looking for a snack — no comparison with your proximity to the bobcat but the poem makes clear how humans need these moments
Yes, I agree. Wild Things — they remind us of who we are or perhaps should be.
Love that this happened for you, and I love the marvelous poem. One morning in January, I came home from running errands and entered my sun porch. Some movement outside the window under a bird feeder caught my eye, and when I moved closer, a large skunk and I made eye contact. He was absolutely
beautiful! I was shocked by his immaculately groomed black and white coat. We stared at each other for a moment, then he turned and waddled off to my neighbor’s yard. It felt like a miracle.
I know what you mean about skunks. They are so beautiful with that thick glossy coat. Too bad they’re remembered mostly for another attribute!
“Untamed, beautiful and free”. Sweet… Lucky you!
I agree, Em. Thanks!
Pretty exciting being so close to such a beautiful, cool and a little dangerous creature.
The wild things at our house are chipmunks.
A brilliant post and poem. Thank you, Liza!
Thank you, Carol — and happy spring!