I don’t consider myself a “loner,” but every now and then I like to take a hike by myself in the nearby mountains. It gives me an opportunity to clear my mind and reflect on any issues at hand as I enjoy the peaceful scenery around me. I went on one such hike a couple weeks ago, just before winter started to really show its face. This time, however, was unlike any other. My experience made me reconsider Holiday cards with animals as an inspirational greeting, and I felt compelled to share my story with you.
There were so many people out that Sunday afternoon; families having picnics, couples sharing private moments, even a Boy Scout troop. I ventured far off the beaten path and found a nice place to sit along a clearing by the cliff’s edge. My mind wandered to the Christmas cards I had already been receiving in the mail. I thought about the wildlife cards, the Christmas photo cards of families (some that I rarely see), and the glitter I got all over myself when I pulled one Christmas tree card from its envelope. When suddenly, I heard it…a rustling from somewhere. I couldn’t quite figure out where, but it was close. A big gray animal, which I originally mistook for a dog (thanks to that fresh image in my mind from one of the holiday animal cards I had received), emerged from the brush. My first instinct told me to get out of there as quickly as my feet would carry me, but I stayed. I watched the animal warm itself in the sun, as it scratched its back on a nearby bush. The animal looked so peaceful standing there, and it didn’t even seem to know I was watching.
Finally, I removed myself from that serene moment and let my logical side consider the scene. It was probably not a nice, tame, family dog like the ones on my personalized Christmas cards. It was most likely a wild coyote, and I thought it best to slip out of the clearing as quietly as I could. I hiked back down the mountain, having achieved more than I wanted to when I set out that Sunday morning. I wondered if I should tell all those other people enjoying the mountain about my encounter with the animal, but thought it best to leave everything as peaceful as it was when I arrived. I went home and ordered my Christmas cards online – a beautiful wildlife scene. And you can guess where I got my inspiration from.