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Development and Improvement


Years ago when I was a student at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, I was in the middle of studying for an exam during spring semester, but interrupted by a call from two of my friends and cross-country ski instructors to see if I'd like to take time off and go to Crystal Lake. I love the out-of- doors and had never been there so I said yes. The lake was located in a depression surrounded by hills, grass, and ancient outcroppings of Sherman granite. Harold was an avid fisherman so he immediately started fishing. His brother, Grant, and I followed a faint trail around the lake. Grant carried his bow and quiver of arrows.


No wind blew. The sky was gray with clouds. We were quiet. About half way around the lake, I climbed a small hill and paused at the top. To my surprise, below me in a narrow draw, two small bobcat kittens were playing in front of their den oblivious of me. They batted, bit, and tumbled having a great time.


Grant joined me and immediately pulled one of his arrows from his quiver. I must have gasped because he stopped short of aiming his arrow at one of the kitten much to my relief. At almost the same time, one of the beautiful little creatures with their bobbed tails, brown fuzzy spotted hair, and and black tipped ears, caught site of us. They froze and looked at us and then disappeared into their den. A minute later, I caught sight of yellow eyes peering out of the den.


Grant and I hoped they come out again, but they did not so we turned to leave. As we did, we saw the mother cat crouched behind us. She showed her teeth and appeared ready to spring at us. We backed away from the den giving her room to her enter and check her kittens.


At the time, I didn't own a camera but I have retained a clear picture of them in my mind. I know bobcats are widespread across North America and are adapting to human developments, but I've only seen a few in the wild and I remember every sighting.


Harold became my husband and Grant a friend. A few years ago, Harold and I drove to the lake. At a gate, we paid an entry fee. What a change. A road with hundreds of campsites circled the lake. Boat ramps, swimmers, and RVs took up every available space. And, it was noisy. The den I'd seen so long ago, had been flattened to accommodate a camper. My heart hurt. I was saddened by the development. This was improvement?


I know people were enjoying the lake. I couldn't so we left and I never returned. Sometimes, I think development wherever it is, should be called destruction.



This photo was taken by Chandler Cruttenden from Unsplashed




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