June 10th was another near perfect morning. I was booked in the field house at SPNI Meron in very northern Israel. We were at the base of Mt. Meron, a beautiful and strategic mountaintop looking straight into southern Lebanon. The trails in the extensive SPNI (Society for the Preservation of Nature in Israel) reserve proved to be packed with nectaring wildflowers and lots and lots of butterflies. With the trails beginning at the door to my quarters, I was able to get an early start, and was out working the wildflowers before 8 A.M.! Soo many great butterfly opportunities. My Canon camera did give me fits, with its built-in photometer becoming unreliable. Ooh!
With so much success that morning, I decided to go out again at 6:30 P.M. on those same trails. The heat of the sun would be reduced, and surely the butterflies would fly again before they roosted for the night. I shot some goodies in that next hour and a quarter. Headed back on the trail, I noticed an alcove to the right side of me, just meters before I reached my 3-day field house quarters. This spot was filled with wildflowers, and blues and others were busily flitting from one to another bloom. There were rocks here and there between this and that, so I noted that I had to be cautious as I worked this promising flower bed.
Good. Good. Nice. Good. SUDDENLY! I was falling. Down I went like a load of bricks. As I hit the ground, I couldn’t understand it. Why did I fall. I didn’t stumble on a rock? I didn’t step into a hole? Huh?
On the ground, I made one of those split second appraisals that you do after a hard hit. I missed falling on the rocks. I assessed that I had no serious injury. Then I looked up. You see what I saw. This cat was right where you see it. Staring right at me. Did I fall because?
I am a very practical, pragmatic man. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop thinking that my fall was mysterious, to say the least!
N.B., The next afternoon, I again hiked these same trails, after dinner-time. On my way back to my villa, within meters of the trailhead, I was startled again. A very large female boar shot across the trail, some 12 to 15 feet ahead of me. It was 300 pounds or more is my guess. I remained in place. 4 little piglets also shot the gap, dashing after their mom. A wild dog on the trail in the morning; then boar in the late afternoon. Mt. Meron is certainly alive with wildlife.