Afraid of Coyotes?

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?

Bowl of Snakes

I used to remember my dreams a lot more than I do now.  I think part of that was that I had more restful sleep.  I wake up in the night more often now, and I have to get up, too often, before my body is ready to get up.  But last night I had a dream that was one to mark down.

I was in my house but it was really my parents house.  If you have ever remembered a dream, then you know what I am taking about.  The layout was my parents house but the stuff was of my house.  Anyway, that detail is really just to demonstrate the dream-ness of the dream.  On the kitchen counter was a box of cereal.  The box was labeled “Bowl of Snakes.”

I find it hard to imagine that a cereal named Bowl of Snakes would sell well.  We have a pretty solid irrational fear of snakes here in this great United States.  People kill snakes just for the sake of killing them.  There are snake festivals where hundreds of snakes get slaughtered (such as the Sweetwater Roundup).  So such a cereal would be shunned, I am sure.

In my dream, it wasn’t just the name of the cereal that was reptilian.  Pouring out the box into a large white bowl resulted in a large white bowl of live snakes.  There were three of them:  a rattlesnake of some kind, a striped harmless snake, and a pale green snake with a protruding forehead and seemingly no eyes.  This last one had exceptionally long fangs.

I was in the kitchen with my children.  We watched the bowl of snakes with interest, but not fear.  While we watched, however, the blind green snake stretched intself out toward us, mouth open, to a length of perhaps eight feet.  it was long.  It wasn’t threatening, perhaps just curious about us.  It did, however, startle the children a bit.

We looked away at one point and looked back to find only the striped snake in the bowl.  The other two had disappeared.  We searched all over for them, under the appliances, behind doors, in all the various cabinets.  We failed, however, to find them.  This resulted in lots of questions about what to do.  Should we call someone to help us find them?  Would they be dangerous if found cornered?  Did it matter if we never found them but someone else did?

After searching, we discovered that the third snake had disappeared.  Now there were three snakes missing, although the striped one we knew would cause no one harm.  We searched some more but found no snakes.  Our bowl was empty.  I was proud of my children for not being afraid, simply cautious.  They were curious and not scared.

I am guessing I will never actually encounter a bowl full of snakes, unless I attend the Sweetwater Roundup or something like it (see below).  Even if I do, I will likely refrain from using milk for that bowl of  cereal.  That would just be unkind.

Sweetwater Roundup Snake Pit

Sweetwater Roundup Snake Pit