The Old Man And The Mountain Lion
By Michael Harrington
One Line Synopsis
After an old man loses his beloved house cat to a mountain lion, he sets off into the at once brutal and arresting Big Sur Wilderness to seek his revenge.
Living alone in a dank Big Sur canyon, the main character faces the double-edged sword of intentional daily solitude and its inherent byproduct – chronic loneliness. He remains sheltered from society, even the happenings of the small (and itself secluded) coastal community in which he lives – tourists flock to the beach while a wildfire rages nearby, pushing the wild things into the canyon, including a mountain lion that begins to stalk the neighborhood.
When his only beloved – his house cat Bugs – is attacked by the mountain lion, his only recourse is to set off into the woods seeking revenge. But it soon becomes apparent that his interest in rushing off into the wilderness is not blood-thirst; it is an opportunity to follow through on a failed rite of passage set out for him by his father when he was a child, a relationship we are given entry to by his father’s rich history within the small coastal town.
His choice to chase after both the mountain lion and the second chance at living up to his father’s expectations has unexpected repercussions, as he enters into a process of personal and spiritual discovery. Beaten down by the seemingly insurmountable elements, the old man is humbled and given the opportunity to meditate on his options as a member of a greater community, that of the Big Sur wild itself.