The town of Puyallup, Washington boasts an area of land known as “The Plains”. This area is not popular because it is so discreet, few people are privy to its existence. Those who are, visit it with regularity. Open grassy fields, creek beds, and ponds suggest to visitors a scene from Africa, not a local town. Grasses growing in the cracked dirt creek beds during the humid summers are likely to be washed away in spring and fall by rainstorms too strong for the land to swallow in one gulp. Creeks turn to lakes, lakes breach, and the streams flow, creating new lakes and new streams until the repetition cannot be sustained by the changing weather. For it was this summer yes, this summer late in the season on an already unusually sweat inducing afternoon, that we entered the Great Puyallup Plains.
What possibly could lure us in there at the end of such a blistering day? A day when even the mosquitoes bothered not to come out but to stay hidden lest they combust in the heat? Lions! These quiet yet deadly animals that could disappear into the tall grasses we were about to enter. Lions. We had heard rumors of sightings so convincing, we felt we should investigate. Was it real or was it another… Wait! What was that? A strange sensation overcame us knowing something in the tall grasses was looking at us even though we could not see it. As his voice popped, my son was able to shakily ask, “was that a tail?” Indeed, it was. In an instant, the rumors became true. Our very own lion sighting! With cautious tracking we were able to confirm that the Puyallup Plains contains a lion! As we rounded some scrubby brush we heard a mighty roar.
At that instant we realized we were dealing not just with a lion but a lioness! A cute one too!
We watched her for a while as she romped and played, but we soon knew we needed to leave. Not knowing whether we would ever see her again, we thought of only one solution. We took her home with us!