jeudi, juin 22, 2006

Coyote Ugly?

I'm a creature of habit. I tend to run the same semi-safe, semi-suburban, always scenic route four or five times a week. Actually, it's not safe to run on the busier streets now, although bikers and joggers still do go out and slow down the teenagers in their beat up sedans. I used to do that, but I wised up...I'm old enough to just have spurts of teenager rebellion, not eruptions. One of the wonderful facets of the particular residential road by the park on which I run is the variety of wildlife. Deer lead their families across the road as though men had never invented SUVS or hunting season. Baby rabbits sit on the tarmac's verge until bikers or runners almost upon them. Only when we are within range of their huge bright eyes do they turn tail and race into the undergrowth. Birds babble and chase one another over the rooftops of the McMansions which have obtruded on this neighborhood of former farms. I had almost gotten down to the Lake yesterday when I came to a screeching halt. Just down the road from me were...what exactly were they? Then one of them came closer, and loped across my path. I'm still not sure what, or how many of these animals I saw. I honestly didn't stay too long to find out. I suspect now that they were foxes, perhaps a family of foxes. At the time, however, I wondered if I had happened upon the infamous coyotes...reclusive scavengers enthused by dead animals and eager to hold a cannibal's wake at the scene of the slaughter. On the way back up the hill, I waved down a man in a white car with lights on the top and a "Chief" license plate. Fortuitously (duh, Elizabeth), he turned out to be our local fire chief. When I mentioned the word coyote, he really got excited. "The Game Commission tells us we are crazy to say we have them around here," he told me, and took off back down the hill to see whether he could lay eyes upon them for himself. Within five minutes, he was back, reporting no coyote (or fox) sightings. I chatted with him for a while, and found out that some of the locals think that the Game Commission has introduced coyote into the park to control the animal population, and isn't telling the folks who are convinced that indeed they have seen coyotes! As I become more of a "local" I am more and more fascinated by the "intrigue" that goes on just beneath the tranquil surface of this apparently sleepy village. We have Republicans divided against one another. We have Democratic rabblerousers monitoring truth, lies and newspaper stories. Now conspiracy theories even extend to the presence, absence, alleged presence or alleged absence of wildlife. I had no idea small town life could be this exciting and interesting.

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