Dangerous Beauty

FloridaPanther_01-Cougar

Tendrils of fear
Prick my spine,
A tingle rippling
Outward.
I sense you,
My every move
Cautious,
Scared.
Trapped,
A human statue,
Frozen by fear
Unsure–
Like prey
Caught in
The crosshairs,
Feel the danger,
Not the direction.
Your tawny paw
Steps out
Revealing yourself,
From browns and greens,
Nature’s camouflage.
Amber eyes on me,
Unblinking,
Assessing,
Wild grace
In your gait.
I hold my breath,
Awed,
By your beauty,
My fear.
As you circle,
Deciding.
Muscles ripple,
You stretch out,
Swish your rope like tail,
Turn,
Disappearing into the wood
Like a ghost.
Hand to heart,
Feel thumping beat,
Reassurance.
I live to see
Another day.

Today, walking my dogs, I encountered what I’m now pretty sure was a young Florida panther sunning itself next to a neighbor’s house. Fortunately the pups didn’t see it and the wild beast seemed to have been well fed, or that could’ve been a very scary situation. Not wearing my glasses, something compelled me to look over at their house. For about 2 seconds I thought I was looking at a tree stump (hey, no glasses, remember?). After I blinked a second I realized that I was looking at a big effing cat…bigger than my 26 lb dog. Bobcats aren’t uncommon, so I thought maybe that’s what I saw…I mean, the thing was definitely big, had nice fangs…but one thing kept bothering me. Bobcats usually have spots/markings…this one was all tawny. I kept my dogs moving and got them past where the beast was sunning itself before they even noticed.

When I got home, I googled Florida wildlife…looked up bobcats…then clicked Florida panthers. Yup! It was a young panther. They are beautiful and wild, but I was so glad it wasn’t hungry. That could’ve really been scary. Well, ya’ll know me…never turn down a chance to create a poem out of a slightly scary & life threatening experience. What about you? Have you had any scary moments with nature? (And not the kind where you were on a long hike, needed to use the restroom and didn’t have one nearby…unless it involves using poison ivy as TP…LOL! Just kidding.)

And…in honor of love…and the unusual…I’m throwing down some old school jazz…complete with scatting (musical…not the creepy stuff) and improv. Yes, ladies and gents, that mean’s Ella’s in the house! She, like a fine wine, only got better with age…

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38 thoughts on “Dangerous Beauty

  1. terrileeclarke says:

    Wow. So glad you and the dogs are fine! I’ve seen a bobcat on one of our trail runs but it was on the other side of the river so we felt free to stop and stare – very awesome to see them outside of a zoo.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Yeah, it’s kind of cool when we see bobcats, too, but they usually haven’t gotten quite as close as this panther… the thing was only a little more than 50 feet away! Just glad I managed to draw the dogs away before they noticed.

  2. Sheri de Gromm says:

    Beautiful and exquisite poetry as always Kitt. Susie Lindiau posted a blog not long ago about the threat of wildlife in her area. I believe we’re seeing more and more of the larger species as a result of people bringing species into the country as exotic pets and then eventually turning them into the environment. That’s happening a lot in rural areas of the mid-west. Especially with large cats. I’m glad you and your dogs are safe.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      The pic isn’t mine. It was from a free to download nature site. I looked and couldn’t find anyone to credit. As for panthers…they’re rare now, but yes, you can…on occassion, find them running wild. Glad you liked the poem!

  3. wordsurfer says:

    GREAT poem! I could feel the fear curling through it all the way, very vivid image. I’ve never heard of Florida panthers before! Well, I guess you learn something new every day. 🙂

  4. viveka says:

    Love everything about this post – I love everything about the big cats – and I watch so much as I can on the Nature channel … great choice of music too.

  5. Ray Colon says:

    Hi Kitt,

    We often see black bears where I live. I’m used to seeing them now, but when I first moved here in 1998 from NYC it was a disturbing sight. Rather than lurk in the woods, one very large bear decided to walk down the middle of the street in front of my house. No one argued; everyone just got out of the way.

    During our first summer here, we returned home from a day trip to find the entire front and side of our house covered with hundreds of ladybugs. They aren’t scary, of course, but when there are that many of them it’s really creepy. They were gone in a day or two. I Googled it and found that it’s not that uncommon. Apparently, they were attracted to the yellow color of the house. It hasn’t happened again. though. Nature can be strange.

  6. pjb1943 says:

    Hi Kitt, thanks for your many visits to my site. Liked your tale of the cougar/panther/mountain lion (all names for the same critter). My only encounter was in the wild when trout fishing in the Montana mountains. You expect them there, not where you found yours!!!.
    Best to ya!
    Paul

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Thanks, Paul. I think that in the wild, I probably wouldn’t have been so put off because, as you said, they’re more expected in that sort of environment, not sunning next to a house in a suburban residential area.

  7. 최다해 gongjumonica says:

    Looks dangerous! I think that would be one of the reasons why I must feel afraid living in another city. Here in the Manila one can’t see something like that. Only cockroaches and rats as big as cats LOL

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