When I was all of thirteen my cousin, her boyfriend, and I went rock climbing in the Santa Monica Mountains. At one particular gap I decided to cross by leaping over rather than struggling the long way around. Unfortunately, from my perspective, due the manner in which the light and shadows played off the ledge below, I did not perceive the unevenness of the shelf. I leapt and landed with my weight entirely on my left foot, which caused it to twist painfully. I was unable to put any weight on the sprained ankle and my companions were not able to support or carry me so the two of them went for help thereby leaving me alone on the mountainside.
I do not recall how long I had been left alone before I heard the most terrifying scream. I turned in the direction of the scream and saw that I had been joined by a Mountain Lion who stood seven or eight feet above me on another ledge. I immediately thought I was a goner as the two of us eyed each other. It seemed like an eternity, but in reality was probably less then a minute, the Mountain Lion apparently decided I was neither a threat or lunch because it turned away and left.
It did not take anytime at all for me to decide to do the exact same thing, which for me was to turn and crawl down that mountainside before my new acquaintance had a change of mind and decided I might just be lunch after all.
I met my cousin, her boyfriend, and the posse of rescuers at the bottom near the parking lot where the car was parked. I was promptly scolded for not waiting and taking such a risky chance. After they sufficiently got over their disappointment at not being able to rescue me I told them about my encounter with the Mountain Lion and the fear that gave me the incentive to crawl down. I think they were all a little bit jealous of my up close and personal encounter with one of the Santa Monica Mountains shy but magnificent residents.
I do not like to be afraid and I do not put myself into fearful situations, like roller coasters and horror films. However, I would not exchange that terrifying encounter with the Mountain Lion, for when the fear dissolves into awe it is truly an amazing experience.