Sunday, June 12, 2011

You gonna believe your lyin' eyes . . .

or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? I was going to post something a few weeks ago when they declared the eastern Cougar extinct, but then I said naahh, there's too much idiocy in the world to bother. The declaration acknowledged that many people had seem mountain lions in New England recently -- and I happen to be among them but what do I know? However, they didn't count because they must be strays from Colorado or animals escaped from captivity or something. Anyway, even if they're here, they aren't really here.

So a 140 pound mountain lion is struck and killed by a car in Milford, and the spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection says "We don't see a lot of those around here." Well actually you don't see a lot of them in Colorado either, or anywhere else, because they don't normally show up for the day-after-Thanksgiving sale at Target, but if you see any of them, that means they exist, right? No, this one must have escaped or been released from captivity. Now come on, how many people keep mountain lions as pets and have them wander off? Is this really going on all the time? Pish tosh, I say.

In other news, our downtown consists of a post office, a general store, and two churches. Or it did. A few weeks ago the proprietor of the General Store drove his pickup into a tree at 2:00 am, leaving no skid marks. Maybe I shouldn't speculate but he'd put some money into fixing the place up and installing a pizza oven, and with half the people in town being out of work and for sale signs everywhere I expect fewer folks were willing to pay an extra 50 cents for a loaf of bread. It's six miles to the nearest grocery store now but people are just working harder at planning ahead and not running out of stuff, I expect.

Now we have no restaurant or store in town, except for a chainsaw shop. So is this really a town? We do have a volunteer fire company, a library, and an elementary school -- we're part of a regional school district above that -- and we share the dump with another town but it's still a place to meet up. There are annual events at the historical society -- Farm Days and the Highland Games -- a farmers' market once a week and occasional flea markets and whatnot on the town green, and Little League baseball at a town park. But we only really exist because of the public sector. There's no Main Street. Shopping means going to one or another big box in Windham. I expect this is happening in a lot of places.


  1. I think your town is going the way of the non-existent eastern cougar. It's there, but it's not really there.

    You saw a mountain lion? I've always wanted to see one, but from a very safe distance (of course). More chance of that here in our neck of the woods, since they have not been declared extinct here yet.

  2. Yes, I saw one a couple of years ago, insouciantly crossing a country lane. I had to stop for it. I happened to read in the Norwich Bulletin a couple of days later that there had been other sightings in the area.

    I think I understand one reason why the FWS doesn't want to say they're around -- people will demand that they "do something," presumably find them and kill them. I told my neighbors respondent to duty to warn, but left it at that.

  3. perhaps someone will re-open the store? six miles to a big box is a long way for a little something.

    there are still a fair number of mountain lions in our area. every so often, one is spotted in a residential area, and everyone freaks out. we were at a big regional park a few months ago, and someone ran up to tell a ranger they'd seen a couple of mountain lions off the beaten path, and thought the authorities should know. the ranger said, "lucky you, you got to see them!"