When it comes home again for good (it may still be absent but remains deep in the DNA of this wild, wonderful country) I will rejoice.
When, not if.
The lynx, such a scarce, stunning creature, is emblematic of human folly. Hunted and so depleted by the loss of both key prey (rabbits) and habitat, to the point of near extinction in Iberia, it is recovering slowly but steadfastly with the help of some enlightened and dogged souls. May the day come soon when we have it back in Catalonia, in the wild.
Remember two years ago when one tagged specimen last seen in Portugal turned up just south of Barcelona? I look at the wilderness around me and hope. And then, 12 months back, the first cub was born in Catalonia for more than a century, at the Fauna MónNatura recovery centre at the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park.
Do not be scared. Be aware. Be alive to what is possible.
Our species is awakening, albeit painstakingly slowly, from its stupor. It is profoundly the time to fire our senses naturally, and nothing positively matches the power of the immeasurable outdoors. It is so much about mental health, respect, knowledge, learning to tread softly, feeling the heart pumping. We so desperately need to re-wild, to step off the beaten track, a message better understood every day. But we also must embrace and celebrate trophic diversity, the widest breadth of species, for there to be as natural a balance as possible.
With dynamic interactions, like that going on about my ankles, in miniature and so significantly among the insects feeding off one another in the delicately balanced circle of life, free of pesticides and human hammering, so too we need the megafauna back.
Such a richness of species is only possible when the food web, the diversity, is there to sustain. Well, if here in The Priorat is anything to go by, the web is now in need of natural check.
Rabbits are proliferating, boar are breeding more than once a year and are everywhere, and the roe deer are well and truly back. Our night camera bears witness.
When will the time be right, I wonder, to reintroduce a natural predator here? I am talking lynx, not wolf or bear (yet).
Caveat. The people of the land need to be partners in any discussion, progress and change. They have invaluable root wisdoms and it is their lives and communities that need care just as much, in balance. There have not been, for the record, attacks on humans by lynx. They are solitary and territorial and, hence, never, numerous.
I make no apology for being impatient. Just writing this takes me away from human pre-occupations that smother the seeds of a fulfilling, sensory life.
I need to re-wild myself on a daily basis.
Life, more so now with the accelerating devaluation of truth, comes like shopping whizzing across the barcode reader at the till. It’s a stressful, illiterate blur. I give up, always, trying and failing to process, so lump everything into a recyclable bag and flee back to the hills; to the rhinosauros beetle, the tortoise (testudo hermanni), the chicory flower, butterfly, bee-eater and vole; the birdsong, leaf, bark and bustle, from the miniscule to the megafauna, the greatest colour palette of all.