I remember that moment like it’s preserved in amber or under glass: sunset deepening rapidly to blue twilight, the air humming with insects, a hot day turning over into warm evening. I remember stepping into the darker shadows of the trees, tall pines perfuming the air with their sharp scent. Even just standing beneath the trees, it felt like stepping out of civilization itself, into another time and place undisturbed by humanity’s presence. And then, before even my feet touched the dirt path, I saw it; coming down the path from the direction of the mountains, footfalls silent, the bobcat approached me as if I were part of its everyday sights. I froze, not daring to take even a breath for fear the sound might shatter the impossible moment. I had never witnessed such grace and beauty than this wild feline; I doubt I ever will again, unless I’m lucky enough to witness another of its kin. Such a small body, to contain such power and wisdom! The creature padded down the trail past me with barely a glance for the clumsy human watching in awe and disappeared into the dimming twilight. I let out the breath I’d held and pressed my hand to my heart, whispering a thank you to whatever force sent this beautiful sign to me that night. Back then, I didn’t know the source of such a blessing, but now I do. Now I know this was just one of many signs from Bast, patron goddess even before I knelt before Her altar. I didn’t recognize the sign for what it was, just as I failed to recognize other signs She sent me over the years – perhaps I just wasn’t ready to hear Her call or follow Her path. She was patient with me, though, and I heard Her when I was finally ready for the journey She offered. Still, I thank Her for sending such signs throughout my life, a mother cat gently nudging Her child in the right direction while still letting her pick her own path.