I perused the Huffington Post on my phone.  Outlandish and incredulous titles 
get a click.  Playing right into their marketing ploy, I added a unique visit to that link.  It's a great illustration of what the right words can do.  The power they hold.  
I'm a sucker for them.  

The story said, "Panera Bread To Dump 130 Ingredients".  I'm a bit of a clean foodaholic. To think that clean eating and cooking with quality, easy recognizable and pronounceable ingredients being outlandish instead of normal is quite telling of our palates, our food sources, and our unbelievably ridiculous FDA!    That story shouldn't have even had to be if we had a better food governing standard in this country.  

The only redeeming part of the article was that Panera was taking steps to go against the norm.  Kudos to them.  But, the outlandish part of the story is beyond the restaurant.  It's that we need to lobby for cleaner farming techniques.  But that would ultimately swing  against the big chemical companies and the agri-farm industry that 
compromises our food supply for profits and yields. We pay again through the cost of 
health issues, both financial and physcial.

I buy organic whenever I can.  It costs me much.  Right now, the alternative though remarkably cheaper, is not something I'm willing to put in my body.  Eating clean, with the least amount of chemicals, processes and preservatives, eliminating as much interference in my body system as I can, is financially outlandish.  You would never believe what I spend on groceries.

It's almost as outlandish as what I saw at 5:30 a.m. one dark wintry morning
 just a few months back. 

If I were called to a witness stand, and asked to place my left hand on the Bible and raise my right hand, I could easily and with purity of conscience do so.  There is not one drop of made up, stretching the truth, or seeing incorrectly in my eye witness account of that morning. If I were a writer for the Huffington Post my story's title would be something like, "The Legendary Black Panther Strikes Again".  

I am thankful now that I didn't yet have my treadmill moved from my house in Illinois to where I recently had moved to. That fateful collision of sorts would have never happened as I might not have chosen to run in the dark with 18 inches or more of snow on the ground. Miles on a treadmill are far easier to run than miles in the great outdoors.  You miss the extra physical rewards and edge that outdoor running bring.  I would not have had the privilege to experience both thrilling amazement and utter fright simultaneously.

The darkness, wind, cold and snow on the road made that morning's run hard.  It had snowed the night before and continued to snow as I battled the last half mile toward home. The LED light strapped to my arm cast a small circle of light with each rhythmic swing.  

Not more than 25 feet in front of me I watched something large, sleek and black 
with muscular haunches and a long cat tail bolt across the road in a full boar sprint.  
It was smooth and effortless and faster than anything I'd ever seen with my own eyes in the wild. 
 It moved like the big cats I'd seen in zoos, on TVs "Planet Earth" and Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom", my favorite show growing up.

I sucked in air as my mind and heart separated their syncness. 
 [What did I just see!  It's Southern Michigan.  That was a black panther!  What the hell!  I just had a black panther pass literally in front of me!!!] 

I came to a complete stop in the road.  The panther was gone.  My heart was pounding. Mostly I stood still because I didn't know exactly what to do next; think, look for the panther in the field, or run like the dickens home!  My mind was sorting through what I had just seen, trying to order it, make sense of the visual. 

My daughter and I came up with an alternative definition to the phrase, displaced histology. We use that phrase in reference to things in movies that don't fit entirely with the era of the movie. Things that are out of history's order or relevance at its time in the timeline. Really though histology is the microscopic study of animal or plant tissues. And, displaced is when something is moved from its normal place or use.

What my eyes saw, where I lived, the time of day, my knowledge of what I saw and what I know it was all collided to outlandish incredulous overload.  Synapses firing rapid speed were bombarding my whole body!

I walked to the edge of road and tried desperately to shine my very limited spherical LED light into the snowy darkness. I peered, squinted and moved that light around.  It was futile. [That creature moved so fast it is long gone from my vision, let alone this poor excuse for a light.]  Still I stood there frantically processing and peering in the direction it raced away toward.  I wanted to see more.  I wanted to see it again.  I wanted it in slow motion this time - to really get to take it in.  I had been privy to something rarely seen.  

[No one will ever believe me!  Would I believe it if someone told me they had seen a panther on a cold, snowy, dark 5:30 a.m. run in Southern Michigan?  I had to tell someone.  No, I had to tell anyone and everyone about the panther I had seen.  Everyone that is, except my husband.  He would try to forbid me from running in the dark.  He would worry.  Maybe he would disbelieve me. OK, I'll tell everyone, except him.]

A bit of fear kicked in.  My overloaded mind all of sudden felt the sudden intrusion of fear.  I took off running - sprinting the half mile home.  Fear is irrational.  But so is a black panther 25 feet in front of me in Southern Michigan.

[P.S.  It was confirmed with DNR - a panther had been sighted on rare occasions in the area. 
 And, I have told random strangers and most of humanity that reside in my small world all about what I saw.  
Most have responded, "Are you sure it wasn't a deer!"  I eventually told my husband, last.]

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