Last night I dreamt I pet a lynx. It walked up to me and sat down then lowered its head and let me stroke the tufts of fur that stood from the tips of its ears like small black feathers. After a moment it stretched and sniffed my face, rubbed its body along my arm. I remember my son was in the dream and that he was worried for me.
I have never been very good at dream interpretation, but I know the dream left me feeling very solid—very full and happy. Something wild approached me, invited me to touch, to trust.
There are no lynx in the Grand Canyon. They are mostly a northern species, found in the boreal forests of Canada and Eurasia. Those in the lower forty-eight have largely been reintroduced. Their predecessors killed off for their incredibly thick fur. I have heard there have been lynx sightings in Oregon, but those are rare. There are bob cats in the Grand Canyon though, and cougars. A day or two after I got here I heard someone had seen a cougar within a mile of the lodge. And while rafting the canyon, I've seen desert big horn sheep, ring tailed cats (which are really in the raccoon family,) river otter and coyotes.
Yesterday, while hiking I was able to follow quite a few animal tracks through the snow: elk, deer, fox, rabbit, squirrel, chipmunk. But no cat. That would have been something, to find a fresh cat track.
The special thing about being in the canyon in winter is that there are so few people. Just a half mile away from the village I felt I had the canyon to myself. Just me and the prints of animals. I hiked a long time, returning very wet and very cold. For the first time since being here I went to sleep early. And then I dreamt of lynx.
Anyway, when I opened my email this morning I found that Chuck had sent me the following video. It takes place in Uganda and is about a man's encounter with wild Gorillas. Not Lynx. Still, it captures the essence of my dream—how special it is to touch the wild.
-Naseem Rakha 2/11/13