Inside the Lion's Throat

My greatest fear when I’m packing in wilderness areas is encountering a mountain lion.  I know how to avoid lightning, and am good at hanging my food to avoid bear encounters.  I don’t travel in highly populated grizzly areas, and black bears I’ve seen have always run away from me.  After being chased by a moose, I’ve learned to respect the huge amount of space they need.  The likely scenario for trouble would be an injury to the pack goats or myself, and that’s the factor most under my control.  A mountain lion encounter, however, would certainly be dangerous and disastrous.  They are silent, deadly, intent and tenacious.

I often ponder how close my old cat Sunny is to his wild inheritance.  He’s always been a docile, placid friend.  Even as a kitten, he would lie quietly with his calm mother while his siblings played ferociously.  Now at 18, retired from barn duties and totally indoors, he’s unusually affectionate and quietly assumes the top position amongst the dogs, who adore him.  But there is something that I don’t see with the dogs, a wildness that lurks just beneath the surface.  For photos of him, click here.

All the sounds are created from a purr I recorded from Sunny, which can be heard in its original sound in the middle of the last piece.  Originally I intended to write a series of pieces that revealed the warmth and love I receive from this gentle creature.  The purr itself must be rather multiphonic and complex, for I could never extract a lovely, pure sound.  Here is the link to that original recording.  It's listed near the bottom.

As is my usual practice, I wrote the pieces first, then searched for titles.  I add this so you don’t think I say to myself, “I think I’ll write a scary piece about a mountain lion.”  Rather, I explore all the different sounds in a very abstract, academic manner, and then think, “Jeepers, a listener might find this a bit more interesting if I gave it the programmatic title of…..”  So in all actuality, the two (sound and title) don’t really have any relationship in my mind at all.

Click here to see how I wrote these pieces.