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Planet Earth

My Feverish Cougar Fears

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJuly 30, 2011 1:55 AM

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When we lived in Boulder a few years ago, we were very lucky to rent an inexpensive rickety house perched in the foothills. We felt like we were living in a huge treehouse. The views were awesome and the space was luxurious compared to our Brooklyn shoebox. But the wildlife spooked the hell out of me. Bears feasted out of our trash cans, raccoons scampered across the roof during the wee hours, and field mice sought refuge in the winter. To a city slicker, it was like living on the set of Grizzly Adams meets Little House in the Prairie. Then were was the never ending mountain lion alert. That truly was unnerving at times. Now that we are safely returned to the urban wilds of NYC, we are fortunate to have friends that have a country spread in a rural stretch of Connecticut, where we sometimes retreat to on weekends. The kids roam without fear of being run over by renegade pizza delivery guys on bikes going the wrong way. It's blissful. You know where this is heading, don't you? So in today's NYT, David Baron, the author of Beast in the Garden (which I reviewed here in 2004--when I had no inkling I'd ever be living in the mountain lion's backyard four years later), has an op-ed about the cougar making headlines this week, in which he writes:

Thanks to the South Dakota cat and its incredible journey, residents of the Eastern United States can now experience the fear and thrill that come with living below the top of the food chain. America has grown a bit less tame.

Great. I get to experience that fear and thrill all over again next time we're in the Connecticut countryside. Thanks a lot, David!

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