I shouldn’t be. I mean, I’m a grown man and they are more afraid of me than I am of them. But a couple of weeks ago a woman in Canada was killed by coyotes while hiking. I hear them howling in the night and find their signs in the road and sometimes right in the driveway. I have seen them only a couple of times around here. They are shy. They run away. Nonetheless, I keep thinking about this weird attack. Why would they attack someone? Coyotes just don’t do that. Well, almost never, but not never, obviously.
This morning it was dark again as I ran, and I ran down Leavensworth Road, which passes through a bower of trees at one point. I could run without a light for a good deal of my run, but in that shaded tunnel I had to turn on my headlamp. I couldn’t see what was in front of me well enough to run without a light. And I’m thinking that I have seen coyotes on that road. And I’m thinking of this tragic story. And I’m thinking of the coyotes I heard howling in the night, seemingly right outside the house. And I’m finding myself watching the woods, or what I can see of the woods. And I’m feeling not scared, exactly, but watchful.
This is silly, of course. I should more afraid of some nut job who wants to take me down and drag me off to some far off barn to torment me. I should be more afraid of getting plucked off by a speeding motor vehicle. I should be more afraid of a heart attack for Chuck’s sake. But the human brain does not work in such a rational manner in the dark when running, which, anthropologically, is something humans did in days of yore when being chased by wild beasts such as large canines. So I have a tinge of what you might call concern, even though my rational thinking is just to be happy. Not that I’m not happy. I just don’t want my abdomen ripped open by teeth designed for such business so some poor carnivorous creature can have a bloody meal.
I am not afraid of coyotes. If there were wolves around here, well, then I would be, at least at times, f***ing terrified. But coyotes? They eat bunnies and mice. OK, they eat deer, too, which are large mammals that can run a hell of lot faster than my puttering middle age upright mass of humanity. But they run away from people. They don’t eat people. I guess the coyotes up in the great white north didn’t get the memo. I makes me wonder if the ones around here have been paying enough attention. So a public note to them.
Hello, Canis Latrans, listen up: I am not breakfast and my sweaty, gristley body will not be all that tasty, even if you are just looking to survive and don’t care about gustatory satisfaction, I’m telling you you will want to eat something more to your liking, like a deer, or a bunny or two, or a nice mice plate laid out with some fruit, and maybe a little jus dipping sauce; just don’t eat me because I will punch you in the nose anyway or poke your eyes out with my opposable thumbs and use my superior brain to outwit you by hiding in a tree and I know you can’t climb trees like foxes can sometimes and just forget about me, will you, because we have guns and can kick your asses all over the place.
I am an animal lover but I wouldn’t take any coyote attack lying down, if you know what I mean. I even imagined carrying a knife with me when I was running this morning. Sheesh. Even if I might taste like it, I’m no chicken. If you see any coyotes around here, tell them that for me, will you?