I didn't take any chances this New Year's Eve. Janus, the cantankerous keeper of the gateway between the old and new years, has thrown me a curve ball more than once. So it was I prepared. I spent luscious time on the phone with girlfriends. I went online and ordered up a box of dark chocolate bars with cherries, girlfriend-recommended reads -- A Discovery of Witches, A Tiger's Wife -- and a portable reading light.
Tucked in for the night by ten p.m., I awoke serene, gazing into a Montana pine-spiked, cloudy sky. I made my way to the kitchen and began grinding coffee beans when movement caught my eye. About thirty yards outside the sliding door, across the little river, was a bobcat. She was perusing the area, sniffing grasses and alder thickets, taking her time. I grabbed my binocs and glassed her exquisitely striped body. She was small with sharp edges. She sniffed the deer block, looked across at me for a few seconds, and disappeared into the brush.
I had just received my totem for 2012. Not that I was looking for one; I had java on the brain and the smell of fresh-ground beans. But spirit has a way of knocking me off routine. So it was my next few hours were spent delving into Lynx Rufus research, pulling up memories, honing insights. Cat energy permeates my soul. I am a Tiger by the Chinese calendar. I have had several potent encounters with mountain lions, one with a mother and three yearlings. With this sighting I dropped from big cats to small. To ones with thick, mighty tails, off of which they spring unbelievable distances, to ones with minute bobs and powerful legs.
Bobcats are crepuscular. They are solitary prowlers of the dawn and dusk, immersed in a silent, secretive world. The same could be said of me. It is my preferred time, when muse and magic reign. While they prowl on legs through the river bottom, I prowl the mind, pen in hand through thickets of imagination. Bobcats are stealth hunters, with keen senses. They have an uncanny ability to blend in and survive their environment. They are 2-4 feet long (including the tail), 14-16 inches tall, and 15-30 pounds. This feline was on the small end of those figures.
I see large, round snowshoe hare tracks on my daily walks. I've been excitedly anticipating a white-wonder, which I haven't seen in years. Now I read that bobcat has been my competition, as snowshoes are her main diet. She also feasts on rabbits, rodents and insects. In mythology the bobcat is associated with wind. He is often paired with coyote as the opposite. Coyote as chaos, bobcat as order. Bobcat is a protector of Venus, the evening star, which happens to be my ruling planet. In Norse mythology (my ancestry) bobcat is associated with Freya, Goddess of love, beauty and destiny, who rides a chariot pulled by two cats.
Bobcats travel up to 7-miles a day and have a range of 100-square miles. I'll be fortunate to see her again. I'm working on sensing her prowl. I know the camouflaged creature is nearby, cocooned in her secretive world as I perfect the properties she represents: stealth, power, camouflage and clairaudience -- hearing sounds and voices not audible to most. Lynx Rufus. Lynx, from the word for light. So named for gleaming eyes; the ability to see in the dark.
When I mentioned bobcat's visitation to Wood Tick he said, "That's a
$300 bill!" "Too small," I stammered, shocked by his automatic response. "May be more than that ... the small ones have the best coats." "Don't you dare tell a soul," I said, as I confirmed trapping season was over. He promised silence. He's not a trapper, although plenty around here are.
Janus is alive and well, looking back and forward simultaneously. From dollar signs to totems. In my world, the bounty of the wild is the holy.