Quite some time ago I awakened from a dream that I was having while at a rented room in Estes Park just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. In the dream I had been driving up the road well after dark when an animal with a long tail crossed the road ahead from left to right. Immediately I knew this was a mountain lion as I had seen this animal before in real life. What exactly is real life, by the way?
In my normal road interactions with wildlife at these unusual hours, I will stop the car and turn it off, knowing that I will be able to better hear approaching vehicles IF that issue even arises, and it gives me a quiet interaction with whatever Nature I've stopped for in order to take in the encounter. In this case I stopped the vehicle which happened to be the same rental I was in, and I looked out of the lowered windows. It was about 30 degrees outside, snow was lightly falling, and there was a mountain lion cub outside my driver's side window JUST out of reach with regard to taking a photo in the dark.
In my dream I stepped outside of the car, startled the cub enough to where it walked around to the front of the car, and I stealthily snuck around the back side of the car thinking "I will get my picture when the cub comes around to the front of the car". At this moment I remembered that momma had crossed the road just moments before, so in my haste to get "safe" again, I climbed on top of the rented vehicle to escape the reach of the mountain lion. I quickly awoke knowing full well that a lion can leap upwards at least 16 feet vertically without any running start. The car and my being on top of the car would be no match if momma wanted to neutralize the threat to her baby.
As I sprang up from bed I awakened Kim who had been sleeping soundly next to me, and she entertained the idea of my dream and got bundled up to join me as I excitedly claimed that I HAD to go up the road because of this dream I just had. Not more than a tenth of a mile up the road, a large animal crossed the road almost as if in a dream. It glided across the road more than anything, maybe even spilled across the road... But that telltale tail roped along behind the animal and gave 100% confirmation that this in fact was a mountain lion crossing the road. I had forgotten about the dream and gone into auto pilot by this time.
I stopped the rented vehicle and rolled down the windows as I killed the ignition. All was quiet as tiny snowflakes fell outside the vehicle, and you could almost hear the larger flakes hitting the powdery surface of the long cold road surface. Suddenly I heard a "peep" off to my left and looked towards the sound. There was a mountain lion cub! It was making a chirping noise of some sort, much different from that I'd imagined a large cat could make. I instinctively reached for my door handle thinking "that cat is JUST OUTSIDE the reach of my camera setup", only the hair on the back of my neck stood on end as I suddenly realized I had just dreamed this very situation and the message in the dream was that leaving the car and climbing on top of it were both bad ideas.
I remained in the car and just watched, and a SECOND cub appeared from behind the first cub, both were chirping and the first cub stepped just inside where I believed my camera could capture a shot. I took this photo (along with two other not so great shots) and then remembered again that momma was across the road from her cubs. I started the rental and backed up quite a bit and killed the ignition again. This time the cubs had their chirps returned and momma guided the two across the road to join her and a THIRD cub!
Before you knew it, all three cubs had fallen in line and were climbing up a rocky mountainside to our immediate right. The lions appeared as if they were only silhouettes moving against the rock, their coloration matching the rock surface almost identically. The only time you could tell this was not a dream or your imagination was when any of the lions looked back in your direction and the roadway lights or nearby lodging lights would catch the cats' and return a green reflection from their light gathering eyes.
Since this point in time I've seen several other big cats, almost always in a manner that makes you wonder afterwards if you really saw these elusive critters. One such sighting was this year itself on almost the exact same stretch of road with another friend of mine after taking a drive just to see if any cats might make an appearance for us. I've dreamed for quite some time of capturing some amazing images or footage of these elusive critters, almost always to turn home disappointed that I just needed a little more time to make that dream happen. Maybe though it isn't the time I needed, but the dreams themselves. I continue to dream of the day when I find my beast who wishes to pose for me just long enough to capture the moment and relay it once again to share her beauty with the world.
Remember, having dreams is just a part of the equation. One has to take action in order to ever realize their dreams. Go live your dreams! They can't come true if you don't take the first step, right?