Coyote, the trickster.
I am staying in the Bay Area this week, seeing friends, contacting clients. Last January I was here for a month working on a job, staying at Muir Beach, when I had the most unusual coyote experience.
Our house was directly above the beach, with a private walkway down to the Muir Beach parking area. On evening around 5pm, as dusk was settling in, Koda and I walked down the access steps to the beach. On one side of us was a house, on the other side of the walkway was brush and an open lot. Suddenly Koda perked up and started to bolt. I called him and saw a huge German Shephard-looking coyote, probably a coydog. He’d been watching us. Being curious why he was so close to these homes, I followed him through the brush. Right next to the compost bin was a fresh deer kill. The deer was completely intact except for its hind quarters, which were exposed and Coyote had eaten the entrails out.
The next morning, around 8am, I passed the area on the way to the beach and looked through the brush. Within those 14 hours, that deer was not only entirely consumed, but the vultures had picked it clean to just bones. Nothing remained!
That was my last trip. Yesterday I met a friend for lunch in a busy North Bay town called San Rafael. After lunch we decided to take a walk, so we drove to a quiet spot I know. At the end of a road there’s an old cemetery. We strolled around the manicured grounds when I noticed a coyote luxuriating in the wet, green grass. Coyote lounged, scratched, bit his fleas, rolled around, and paid us little mind. We circled around him, passing closer on the way back. He stood up in a leisurely fashion, eyed us (like ‘oh you humans are disturbing my sleep’), scratched, and walked slowly around a Chinese Elm. There must have been a nest in that tree, because birds kept dive-bombing him. Coyote jumped in surprise as if these birds were biting flies. It was the funniest thing.
My friend and I parted. I went to get a haircut. At the hairdresser’s the woman next to me was talking about teaching a third grade class when suddenly all the children ran to the window to see a coyote walking by. “I’ve never seen a coyote. Ever.” she said.
Each time, coyote was at the edge of our busy hustle and bustle.
Like a thin veil separating these two worlds, one dreamlike, the other hard edged and fast paced, coyote stood at the threshold, luring us, enticing us. The contrast of the calm of the cemetery, isolated on the outskirts of town; the interface between open space and homes, reminded me of where I had just come from in Wyoming. I too had come from the dreamtime of Sunlight Basin and Yellowstone, where the real world has been marginalized to a protected park. Here in the city, people say to me: ‘Welcome back to the real world”. What is the real ‘real’ anyways?