The Call of the Wild


I hop on my mountain bike and my suburbia becomes my “Animal Planet’s Wild Kingdom.”


It’s my call of the wild. Queue Rainforest Café sound effects.


Today it was a pack of bobcats. I saw three bobcats, but to be fair, I only saw the tail end of their party crossing the trail in front of me as they headed into the bush, so there may have been more hidden.


I stopped pedaling. Feet on the ground, I straddled my bike. I waited.


Everyone remained calm.


Two of them gave me a cursory glance, but the last of the three—Let’s call him Stevens (AKA “Cat”)—stopped in the middle of the trail and took thorough note of my presence.  But Stevens—apparently on a whim—was now parting ways with the pack and headed back into the direction whence they all came. He gave me the side-eye as he sauntered toward the meadow, and then sat down, casual-like. Not so much as a blink. He’d practically picked up his paw, pointed to his own two cat eyes and then back to my human eyes, as if to say, “I’m watching you” like Robert DeNiro to Ben Stiller in “Meet the Parents.”


I waited and then decided to take my chances and pedal on. He craned his neck, watching me as I passed.


I’m much less freaked out now than I used to be when I cross paths with beasts of the field. The first time I saw a bobcat, I almost called 911. These days, I don’t panic when I see a wildcat (Unless it’s a mountain lion. In that case, I’m all wah-wah-cry-baby.)


A few minutes after the Stevens’ party today, I encountered a coyote the size of a small to medium sized horse. Yesterday it was a rattlesnake and pairs of average joe coyotes and super-sized bucks with their braggy antlers.


I see wild animals all the time and other than the aforementioned mountain lion, I love it. Road Runners make me feel like I’m in a cartoon. I love cartoons.


About a month ago, I happened upon what seemed like your garden variety Wile E. coyote strolling along. He was dead center of the trail, up about ten feet. When he heard me, he turned his head and looked back. Wile E. turned completely around now, facing me.


He just stood there, glaring for the longest time. Like he was thinking. Concentrating even.


Then he slowly began to get into a what I call a crouching tiger, hidden dragon stance.  Or like a runner getting ready to take off on a sprint. Was this really happening, was he really getting into attack position, getting ready to pounce this animal/nature-loving menopausal mountain biker? I thought coyotes were harmless. I have to admit, I got a little nervous.


But then, I realized, he wasn’t bearing down, getting ready to pounce. Wile E. was getting ready to poop.


And so he did.


I’m not sure who felt more awkward.


But it was also kind of sweet.


I turned my head, giving him a little privacy.


He did the same.


When nature calls, I guess.