My dogs and I are sick of snowflakes and gray weather. So today, in mid-morning, we took a 30 minute walk along a road near the Steeplechase course at Percy Warner Park to cheer ourselves up. We saw Jill- over- the ground blooming
and winter honeysuckle and the race course infield was yellow with the rare, low growing Nashville Mustard. I heard not one migrant bird singing, for they are waiting for greener trees.
But had the trees been leafy we might have missed what was sitting high up in a bare tree.
At first I thought this animal was a fat raccoon, but since it was up in the air it was not going to fly away, and I had a good look at it as I came closer. It was a coon sized cat with an owl like face and eyes, and a thick stubby tale. He watched my every move closer,
and when I was near enough to the tree I was stunned to see that it was a bobcat.
Fifty years ago, I saw one one evening near a field by the Little Sugar River in North Charlestown, New Hampshire. I was a young girl then.The bobcats up there shared the forests with fisher cats and porcupines. Here in Tennessee, they live around armadillos, possums, and timber rattlers. There are many fawns for them to eat since deer in the Warner Parks are as numerous as ants. In fact two years ago, not fifty feet from the bobcat tree, I saw a fawn's leg lying beside the park road. I thought then it was a coyote's work. I had seen a family of coyote pups in a field there one spring-
I just read that bobcats are rarely seen, for they like the night. This one hadn't read the book, and he was out when he wanted to be.
There is always a surprise waiting at that park for ramblers with dogs who are going no where in a hurry. They stop. They look. Up and down. They don't have music players attached to their ears. And when the first blue gray gnatcatcher comes back they will hear it. And when the bobcat surveys the world from a tall tree, they may be lucky enough to see it.