Evening was drawing down on Half Moon Bay. Swirling and descending night fog crept in from the ocean. Some dim light remained from sunset and I’d opened our front door to step out and smell the night. The ocean’s fragrance was strong and fresh and beautifully mingled with the scents from Half Moon Bay’s damp vegetation and soil, a pleasing libation for the nose. Cars were heard on Highway 92 less than a quarter mile off but cars heard on 92 almost all hours of day and night. People liked our small town. It benefited from being located on the Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Cruz to the south, Pacifica and San Francisco to the north, and the Pacific Ocean owning the west. Our beaches presented precious beach access.
Noises drew my attention to the right. I wasn’t wearing my glasses but saw well enough to spot a small animal dart between bushes. It looked like a young dark colored cat.
I love animals but cats manifest a hypnotic power over me. My wife likes to claim that I’ve never met a cat that wasn’t hungry. Naturally, this was my first thought. I wanted to see the animal to determine who it was, that it was physically okay, and that it wasn’t hungry. Well, I also just wanted to visit with it. So I went after it, moving slowly but quickly in a crouch and softly calling, “Here, kitty, kitty.”
The animal rushed from one bush to another. I followed, closing the gap to it. Then, it did a weird thing, shaking the entire bush. Perplexed, I lowered myself and moved closer to see. It shook the bush again. I realized, in my half blind state, that it was stamping its legs. That’s odd, I thought. I’ve never seen a cat do that before….
Because this wasn’t a cat.
Carefully, I backed away.
Once a few feet from the bush, I ran back to the house on my tiptoes, gingerly closed the front door and locked it. You know, in case the skunk came after me.
And then I laughed.
Yeah, I know how lucky I am. I’m a little more careful when approaching unknown animals in the dusk, without my glasses.
You never know what it might be.