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Friday, January 1, 2010

The year of the bobcat

We ended 2009 with a sunset walk with some human friends and their dog. The sun fell behind the mountains in a soft golden shroud of clouds.I have to admit that I missed the actual hour of transition from 2009 to 2010 because I was sound asleep. However, yesterday, I thought about the highs and lows of 2009, remembering that both the good, like my wonderful forest wanderings with K, and the bad, like the death of S, make up a life. Even the unpleasant events transform our souls, sometimes in positive ways. Thus, my philosophy is that I need to take stock of all of it, not just the good parts.

In 2009, I started my wildlife camera hobby, and this morning, I checked the infrared camera set up on the edge of a meadow, below a boulder that's surrounded by pine trees. Many wild animals gravitate to 'edge' environments because of the diversity of plant and animal life that teems on those brinks. Moreover, animals can sneak out into the open meadow to hunt grasslands prey or eat grass but they can easily flee into the cover of the nearby forest if needed. Indeed, my camera spot was busy this week.

First, a coyote carefully examined the entrance to the Mountain Cottontail Rabbit den.
Less than an hour later, the rabbit emerged and sat at the base of the boulder. He stayed in one spot for a long time, unmoving. Then, he disappeared, probably back to the safety of his den.
Then, less than 12 hours later, a bobcat marched through. You can click on any of these images to magnify them.
He sampled the scent markers left by either himself or other bobcats (see here where I caught a bobcat leaving a scent marker at this spot in December). Then, he stared at the entrance to the rabbit den before moving on.
While I visited the camera, I moved it slightly so that it will show the top of the boulder as well as the base. It occurred to me that, if I were a bobcat hunting that rabbit, I'd lie patiently atop the boulder waiting for the rabbit to venture out of his den. If a bobcat tries this strategy, I hope to capture it on camera.

The new year dawned windy, warm, and beautiful.
To start the new year right, K and I went for a snow bike ride today. A fierce wind resculpted our world last night, depositing fine snow crystals into the furrows of the packed trails. Consequently, bike riding was much tougher today than yesterday. But, I didn't mind. I was on the trails with my K.
We alternately rolled along fast and then floundered at the speed of a tortoise when my tires stampeded into a snow drift. Snow conditions barely affect K.
At one point, I left her in a distant 'stay', rode away, and then called her.
She did a fast recall through wind-packed snow, leaving a trail of glittering snow kicked up behind her.Finishing with a strong charge toward me. That's my girl!
After I dropped K off at home, I had a lazy and slow ride. I rode partly on roads and made forays onto trails, investigating whether they were passable for my snow bike despite last night's winds. Some were passable and some weren't. But, as I like to remind myself, if I don't investigate a route, I might miss the perfect adventure - so even the unsuccessful investigations are important!

As I rode, I found my thoughts wandering to and fro but one optimistic thought kept returning. This thought was a shockingly huge leap for my psyche. I wondered what life would be like if I had less pain after my surgery.

I usually don't even allow myself to daydream about less pain. I simply accept it as part of who I am. After all, I've had intense pain from my low back and neck since I was a teenager. But, today I dared to dream. I think that my spirit is building up to the big day of surgery. Yes, it's very scary to think of having 5 neck vertebrae fused together into one bone. It's humbling to realize that a generous donor's bone will allow my surgeon to work his wonders. But, I'm starting to see a sliver of sunlight peeking through the dense forest, telling me that I have a chance of feeling better after the surgery than I do now. That's enough for me.
As I continued my freeform thinking, I decided that I'd like to declare my 2010 as the Year of the Bobcat. Bobcats are adaptable, tough as nails, and have flexible strong spines. I'd like to think that I can be as tough as the bobcat who visited the camera boulder in December.My dogs are horrified!


  1. We have no doubt that you are as tough, if not tougher, than any bobcat around. Another beautiful post, beautiful photos, beautiful thoughts. All the best of everything in 2010.

  2. Kia ora KB,
    Happy New Year to you and yours. As always I love your thoughts and your photos, and your inspiration to return even better, stronger, faster. Sorry sort of reads like the Six Million Dollar man, but you know what I mean. These photos of your adventures do more for me than you know. Kia kaha.

  3. What a way to start our new year!

    Great post...
    Great pics...

  4. That is one beautiful bobcat in that last pic and that first photo is gorgeous alpenglow - wow you do great photography!!! Also, am so impressed by the sit/stay and recall - both dogs are obviously gorgeously trained - might ask a few ????? of you after this Sunday if things go awry at a fun match heheh! Oh how beautifully you ponder universal truths... mayhap if the thinkin's not too, too deep, you won't be worryin' too much - trust me, we'll do some of it fer ya???? Happy New Year KB!
    Hugs xo
    Sammie and Mom

  5. HI KB, Your wildlife camera is taking some wonderful shots. Lucinda is very interested in that little rabbit and is hoping it outsmarts its predators! Take Care - enjoy your winter wonderland. We head back to Breck tomorrow - I can't wait to be on the trails again. I've read a lot of books in the past week but have also been sitting on the couch too much!

  6. Your optimism, beautiful pictures, beautiful thinking and wonderfully descriptive writing create a fantastic adventure just reading along. Thank you for allowing us to come along.

    Byron's Mom

  7. I didn't do anything special during the 2009-2010 transition, either. In fact, I was feeling a little under the weather and I think I was simply reading blogs on Blogger. That's my kind of night!

    I hope your daydreams come true and life after surgery proves to be a life of lessened pain. How far off is the surgery? Do you know exactly how long you'll be out of commission? (I hope, for your sake and your readers' sake, that it is not very long!)

  8. It looks like you rang in the New Year in your own style! I can't say that I blame you.

    Year of the Bobcat? I think I saw Bunny painting a protest sign to mail to K and R!

  9. The Bobcat photos are great!
    I am so glad I found your wonderful blog!
    Happy 2010!

  10. Looks like more and more of us are sleeping our way through the New Year! As always, your photos are such a special part of my day. I love the outdoors and I adore the animals that call it home.

    I'm sure that you are a little leery about your surgery but at the same time hoping that you will finally be free of pain. I've lived so long with pain in my back, legs and feet that without it I don't know if I could function! I'll be eagerly reading all about your surgery when you are able to share...

  11. What a wonderful upbeat post to read at the start of a New Year!


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