This is the story of how I came face to face with a mountain lion.
It was sunset and I was running on the trails of the Santa Rosa plateau in California. We were staying there for a couple of months with my wife's family and everyday I would go up to this nature preserve with is this amazing trail, much like an African savanna. It had rocky outcrops and grassland. It was a wonderful place to spend some time running every evening.
I was running with a podcast playing. It said, "you need to be more present", and I realized that I was focusing on the what I was listening to and not the actual running. I then turned the podcast off and put everything away. It was then me running  and the sound of the crunchy gravel of the trails underneath my feet. It was very meditative. I got really deep into the zone, having ran for about an hour and a half.
There was deer running my path, and falcons were nearby. It was sunset and the slight breeze was cooling the day off. It was perfect. Just then, the coyotes started howling, calling back forth. It was eerie. As I was running back towards my car on the final stretch of the trail, I saw an animal ahead of me. I though it was interesting - could be a coyote that walked of the trail. I ran over the hills and got to the spot where the animal had been standing. I looked, and the animal was still there, just a few feet off the trail. The animal was laying  down, crouching at the outcrops. I thought it was interesting that the animal would let me close to it. I have never seen a coyote not run away before. I then realized, it wasn't a coyote after all! I was looking eye to eye with a mountain lion.
Because of the meditative run I had, I did not panic, and felt connected with the mountain lion instead. I just kept eye contact and slowly backed away. When I reached a bend, I immediately took off running and screaming! I ran as fast as I could back to the car.
It was so unreal, so the next day, I went and talked to the ranger who worked at the Santa Rosa Plateau. He then told me an interesting story which explained why the mountain lion had acted that way.
For me, it was a big reminder that even though we have been able to control the natural world, we have also forgotten the real wildness of nature. At times that I feel agitated, I come back to that moment with the mountain lion and remember what it felt like to arrive at that calm place. I use that as a trigger to pull myself back into a state of alignment. I remember that moment when I was at one with nature, which was also when I was at one with myself.

The post Face to Face With a Mountain Lion | Five-Minute Friday appeared first on The Art Of Adventure.

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