On my Yukon ‘bucket list’ I have noted three wildlife sightings that I hoped to secure. One was to see a grizzly bear while out on the land. This means not seeing one from inside the protective shell of a car. Next on the list was to see a wolverine loping in that pronounced big, heavy, fluid bound that is their signature rhythm of locomotion. And third, was to see the phantom appearance of a lynx.

Twice a grizzly and I crossed paths last summer. The first time it happened, the bear was several hundred meters from me and it never saw or smelled me. The second time the bear was altogether too close and we both watched each other. One of us had a racing heartbeat and the other likely not.

About two weeks ago, in early March, with bears still sleeping mightily, the landscape up here still wore the appearance of mid-winter. The Hunger Moon of February had just slipped past and perhaps it was the hunger of a long winter that persuaded a mid-afternoon lynx to betray itself. When I spotted the large cat it was lunging in long leaps with its lanky legs up an impossibly steep bank. Such feline leaps are impressive enough, but going up a 50% incline, over one to two meters of deep and fluffy snow was all gold medal Olympian.

It bounded up the face of the hill, walking on water, so to speak, barely dimpling the surface, on oversized paws. Seconds passed with my jaw dropped and then suddenly the lynx stopped, turned its head back. For a moment we locked stares. Finally I unlocked the message behind the stare. It simply said, “Come on two-legged-one -who -wears -arrogance-so-well, let’s see what you got! Bring it on!”

I simply floundered in deep amazement and saluted the winter traveler.

As I write these words, I am two hours south of that lynx sighting courtesy of Air Canada. I am sitting in a Starbucks in Vancouver. The place is a montage of sounds. Somewhere overhead is piped in jazz; to my immediate left are two conversations in an Asian language, likely Chinese. Off to my right there is simply a droning babble merging from clusters of tables.

I recall a report on public radio that addressed the physical changes that happen to people around a drone. The commentator spoke about the droning of bagpipes, summer day insects or the consistent parade of waves that wash a beach. Our minds settle and our heart rates ease when stimulated by a consistent drone. A drone almost always accompanies yoga sessions. I find it absurd that you can even buy small tabletop machines that generate white noise to help you relax and maybe even sleep.

It is Sunday and assorted church and coffee shop congregations have gathered to speak in tongues while communing on blends of various stimuli. With a cache of muffin calories neatly arranged in glass fronted cases sitting nearby, I reflect on the lynx with whom I had earlier shared stares. I doubt it knows the luxury of a Sunday morning. For the lynx, each day of the week is spelled the same: s…u…r…v…i…v…a….l.

The human drone in the Starbucks suddenly filled me with a desire to leave. I want to run from this collection of tribe members and lunge up a snow-deepened slope of impossible angle. I feel an ache to get back to those surrounding mountains where the grizz stirs in the passing of winter, the wolverine lopes tirelessly and unseen and the lynx delivers a droning scripture that is unmistakably a wild purr.

Filed under: Uncategorized