Friday, March 26, 2010

The Yelp of the Wild

What a day! a day to live in central Ohio -
and wake up to a muffled soft comforter of unexpected snow, very white under the sun. As we drove to our acupuncture treatments, the melting roads reflected the blue sky. I wished I could paint them, but I am not good with watercolor - I like to tell paints what to do. My treatment was good, ending with a fine sense of healing energy. By the time we got out of the health club at noon, most of the snow was gone. The blooming daffodils were still bowed respectfully, but those that are still in bud didn't seem to notice anything had happened.

Sheba, Queen of Sheba, is sleeping now in front of the west windows, where the sun is streaming in. There is no doubt in her mind, I think: that's the place to be. And at 5:00 in the afternoon, which is her 5:00 in the morning, that's the thing to be doing. Tonight at 11:00 she'll jump off the bed and go to patrol the perimeter, yowling at something out back - maybe a raccoon or possum, maybe a coyote.

Speaking of coyotes, one was on the news last night. Poor devil had gotten lost in Manhattan, which can happen to anyone. People had been trying to live-trap him for days and get him out of there, just why, I'm not sure. Coyotes eat rodents, watermelon, and almost anything else, which in the wild is carrion, and in a city is garbage - and you know New York needs a garbage-eating animal. If that coyote were a garbage-eating robot that cost $1,000,000 each, they'd love him. Only in New York, they'd say.

Coyotes are among the most fascinating animals. I read that they have colonized Los Angeles - why not Manhattan, then? It took an awful lot of wildlife people and police to trap this one poor lone thing (who was probably missing his gang). They got him under a car in a parking deck. It made me sad to hear it, all those people against one little wild dog. The word was that he would be taken out into something New Yorkers think constitutes wilderness, maybe New Jersey, and released. I have confidence that a coyote would have as much sense as a domestic dog or cat, and head for home, which in this case seemed to be the campus of Columbia. I found something amusing about that.

Being a midwesterner I was old before I ever heard a coyote's yip-ip-ip-yowwl, when we were visiting the Grand Canyon. It sounded like a dog with a grievance, and they are kind of like that. A couple of years later I looked out our back window and there, standing among the oak trees and ivy, was what looked like a scruffy gray 40-pound stray dog. I called Tom breathlessly and he came and confirmed - it was a coyote. This is not the best news in a neighborhood that has a couple of outdoor cats and bird feeders. But he has not been seen again.

I am a person with vivid respect for teeth and rabies, and I go inside if a raccoon strolls up to the birdbath looking for a drink, or maybe a snack. Wild is wild, but that doesn't mean we have to get rid of it all. I do not own a gun, and if I did I would not shoot a poor confused coyote who clearly had taken a wrong turn back around Oklahoma City. I wouldn't wear it into a Starbucks, either - the gun, not the coyote.

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