|Look how tiny I am, cat-shaped there on the right, and how little the windows are. John's photo.|
|This mountain in the Pyrenees resembles the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan.|
I saw a shape in the brush at the side of the road.
It was a cat.
A big one.
For one astonished second, the cat looked straight at me, then turned and disappeared over a fallen log.
Living in Oregon, a place were large wild cats are considered plentiful, I know many people who have seen cougars; our house lies on the circuitous path that mountain lions take through our area. I've wanted so badly to see a cougar, but they don't show themselves to me, ever. At the same time I've always thought that Europe-so long settled and "civilized"- is basically without wildlife, and relative to Oregon, it is. There just aren't big wild cats over there.
After the stunning moment of eye contact, I said matter-of-factly, "That was a cat." And to my relief, John said, "I saw it too."
Subdued, we made our way through the countryside and up to this house, Cal Paller.
Cal Paller sits in a remote, impossible location deep in Catalonia.
Recommended to us by Spanish friends, this was our big splurge before roughing it on our hikes in the mountains.
|It was a room made for meditation and yoga, somewhat marred by the Joni Mitchell Christmas tape that was continuously playing.|
Also just what we needed: beef steak and potatoes. I almost never eat steak, but just this once...
Oh, and this, too: an exquisite dessert. Dark chocolate shell, filled with custard and kiwi, topped with a razor-thin pineapple chip.
When I went to bed I was still thinking about the wild cat. It had happened too quickly to get a picture, and, aside from John, probably nobody would ever believe me.