I reach up to wipe off the mountain lion’s brain matter and blood that saturates my skin on my face. I spit rapidly as I rub my lips with the back of my hand trying to get the taste of death off of me.
A whirl wind of emotions fill my body as a two hundred pound lion lays on top of me.
I have to figure out how to get this lion off of me, find my horse, get my dogs and get home. No one at the ranch knows where I am at.
I try to roll the lion off of me by twisting my body and maneuvering my way from underneath him. I am quickly reminded that I can’t move the bottom half of my torso. As frustration and claustrophobia fill my chest, I am determined to get this damn lion off me.
With my back partially on a log, I try to push myself up the log by bracing both my hand at my hips and pushing up. The log is big and has moss growing on it. Pushing as hard as I can, my hands slip and force me to slam all my body weight down on the back of my shoulders. Severe pain slowly creeps through my toes and up to my shoulders. Tears begin to fill my eyes.
Twisting, turning and pushing I try harder to get out from underneath this lion. Anger and sadness fuel my determination to get this beast off of me. I push his head hard to the left as I use my stomach and chest to push him up and inch him off me. Light headed and dizzy, I try to use my legs and hips, but again feel nothing. My heart starts beating out of my chest while anxiety floods my stomach. Anger suffocates me as I try to wiggle my way from underneath him.
Inch by inch, I use my shoulders and arms to push the lion off me. As his upper body hangs off of mine, I push harder and harder and quickly turn pushing into punching. With both my fists, I begin pounding the lion’s soft bloody fur. I let my emotions drive me as I continue and continue to let my heavy fists beat the carcass. Tiny white spots start to fill my eyes. I start to lose my breath but stop to lay my head back to rest.
My hair lays in the dirt while my shoulders feel bruised on top of the log. I open my eyes and look up at the trees. The trees appear like they are dancing as they sway in the wind. As I admire the trees, my scenery begins to change.
Eyes of death stare down at me. Heavy heat from breathing of a wolf hits my face. Every inch of my body is crawling with fear. The wolf brings his snout closer to my face as he begins to show his teeth. Drool runs down his canines onto my chin. Reaching up to wipe it off would be a bad decision. I lay there pretending to have been soaked in concrete. I hold my breath trying to figure out how I am going to survive.
With the only chance at life I have, I close my fists tight and use all my force of my upper body. With all my strength I fling my right fist across my body, connecting to the side of the wolf’s head. The knuckles on my right hand smash his esophagus. He lands heavy next to me. My eyes shoot to the tree lines observing more wolves standing in the trees.
“GET OUT OF HERE!” I scream. “Don’t you dare come near me!”
The wolves don’t move an inch. I continue to scream and curse at them in hopes they flee the scene. They continue to watch me. I lay there helpless only imagining how delicious I look as their next meal. Keeping my eyes on them, I check my surroundings again. I notice a dead bat about thirty feet from me. I didn’t think it had been there before but maybe I just hadn’t noticed. I couldn’t get distracted by a worthless dead bat and I quickly looked up to continue my staring match with the wolves.
They were gone. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. What am I going to do now? I am not going to die out here. I decide to continue my quarrel with the lion. Aggressively pushing and inching the lion off of me, my lower body begins to follow his upper body as he begins to slowly fall off of me. His hips and legs are stacked on top of my numb limbs. I sit all the way up and begin to use my arm strength to push him all the way off me.
His whole body folds on top of the soil. Relief passes through my body as I lay on the log and close my eyes. Piercing pain shoots up through my spine and hits me in the back off the head. It feels as though someone has severed my spine.
“Uuugh…oh my god, oh my god,” I cry as I close my eyes tight and apply heavy pressure to the back of my neck. I keep my eyes closed and continue to cry. I open my eyes and stare back up into the trees. It is getting close to dark as the sun begins to hide behind the trees.
A nice breeze cools off my face as it stirs up the leaves around me. I continue to look up past the trees and up to the sky. Aqua blue cards begin to fall from the sky. I close my eyes tight and rub them. I open them and watch more blue cards flutter down like feathers.
I look up again but all the cards had fallen into a neatly stacked deck next to me. The cards appear to be as big as my hand. They are extremely weathered and are decorated with a lightning bolt. I continue to stare at the cards when a deep voice startles me.
“So, what are you going to do? Just continue to stare at them hoping they’re going to do a trick or something?”
I sit straight up and look around quickly. Disappointed, I see no one but continue to examine the deck.
“Oh, come on, shuffle the deck,” the voice says, this time a little nicer.
I reach over and grab the deck. I cringe as I feel my bloody knuckles tighten while I work the deck. I shuffle the cards and set the deck back down.
“Good, now two more times,” the voice adds. “But, while you’re shuffling them I want you to really think about your life and where you are at right now.”
I really want to cuss whoever this mysterious man is. Obviously, I am what appears to feel like, paralyzed from the waist down and may pass out from pain at any second. I am covered in blood and there are two dead animals next to me.
I say nothing and pick the cards up and shuffle them two more times.
“Now, pick a card.”
I set down the deck and spread out the cards. I pull a card and flip over an upside down bat. I squint and frown hard.
I hear nothing so I wait. I continue to wait a while longer until I finally ask, “Now what?”
The ground begins to vibrate as loud movement stirs ahead of me. I notice a cricked redwood tree with burns and a large long gaping hole. It’s bark begins to move as it forms into a face.
“AAAAGGGHHHH,” I scream as I bring my hands up to cover my face.
The tree begins to talk, “Now now, cowgirl. There is no need to be frightened. You see, you are a wonderful girl but you let fear control you. You allow fear to control your life.”
Angry, I look up from my hands as my hair falls in my eyes. “Who do you think you are? Do you even know what I have just GONE THROUGH?! I was nearly EATEN BY A LION and then harassed by WOLVES and I CANNOT MOOOVE!” My voice begins to crack as I feel tears wet my cheeks.
“Actually, I was watching the whole thing. There is no denying you are a fighter. But, you also get yourself in these situations. I am not here to argue with you, I am here to help you. You can call me Grand Daddy.”
Cupping my eyes and face, I take some deep breaths hoping to calm myself down.
“Now, what did you draw,” Grand Daddy asks in a soft tone.
“I drew an upside down bat,” I respond.
“Ooh…section 42, rebirth. But you must read the contrary.”
“I must read the contrary?” I ask. “What contrary?”
Grand Daddy whistles and a leather book comes floating from the sky and lands in my lap.
Bewildered, I look at the book then quickly at Grand Daddy.
“Turn to page 204 and begin to read it aloud to me please,” he responds with a smile.
I grab the book and flip to page 204.
“There’s a poem with an image of a bat that reads:
Sacred Bat…flew to me,
From the darkness of the cave.
Womb-like reflections, answers it gave.
Birth, death, rebirth,
Cycles of the whole…
The journey of the soul.” 1.
“Nice, now turn the page and read along as I explain to you the contrary on page 206,” Grand Daddy says proudly.
To be continued.
1. Sams J., & Carson D., (1999). Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways
of Animals, 204.