Sorry I Made You Cry Coyote
I had an unbelievable adventure in the dark forest this morning. I walk my dogs just after 6 am (and in the northern hemisphere it is still very dark at that time in January). I was walking my Old Boston Bulldog (Pablo) on a trail and when he stopped to poop, I bent down to scoop it up in a bag—yes, even in the dark, the snow, and the remoteness of the forest, I still pick up my dog poo because it’s my backyard after all. It wasn’t easy as it melted through the crispy snow and sunk deep under the icy top layer (fellow dog poop-scoopers out there can sympathize). I finally stood up and began to walk Pablo along the trail when suddenly a dark creature bolted from behind the bushes above me and darted like a bullet onto the trail above the bushes (we walk on a horizontal trail along the mountain). It took me a moment to recognize the sleek silhouette; it had a fabulous bushy tail that stood straight out behind as it trotted on the trail about 20 feet above us. It was a beautiful coyote. I watched in amazement and caution, making sure it was heading in the direction away from us.
As it trotted towards the direction of the lake, it let go with a series of mournful yet high pitched whines. The coyote was crying as it ran away from us! There was no mistaking its complete disappointment that I had ruined its breakfast plan.
It had been crouched in the bushes ready to eat Pablo and thought he was easy prey as I was no threat because I was squatting low, busy picking up dog poo. Once I stood and it caught a whiff of me it bolted and ran away crying its mournful song. I actually felt sorry for it.
I adore my forest adventures with other species. They make me come alive. I treasure these forest interactions. I know I am familiar to the coyote as I’ve walked through its forest home every day for its entire life. Obviously, it’s watched me, smelled me, and stalked my dogs. Thus, a hopeful part of me believes that it recognized me by scent more than being intimidated by my sudden tall stature (once I stood up) and it thought, I can’t eat her dog—she’s one of us.
However, when it was Fernando’s turn to walk with me to our meditation spot on the cliff above the lake, I decided to forgo our usual route as the coyote was running in that direction when I left it and it is undeniable that, in the dark, a pug looks identical to a cocktail sausage (to a coyote) and no coyote could resist such a temptation after loosing out on breakfast.