Thursday

Coyote


The large flock of wild turkeys here again this morning, drinking from the pond, grazing the hillside for what seemed to be mostly invisible seeds left from last long-ago summer's bee balm.  Then a whirling on the edge of the group: a hen has flown up into a tree and perches on a branch.  A small coyote stands for a brief moment beneath her then disappears into the meadow's ridge.

The flock did not run, did not panic.  They went on about their business of grazing.  I was expecting them all to scatter and run at the sight of a deadly predator come to the hillside.  That's not quite how it works and I was glad for it.  His opportunity missed the mark, on this morning anyway, and that was all it seems they need to know.

I like having pockets to slip my hands into, to carry a small object here and there from time to time.  But these turkeys?  No.  They carry nothing.  When the threat is gone it is gone.  What price do I pay for the privilege of a pocket?  The great poet Auden writes of our Age of Anxiety, is this the price we pay for our pocket? For the things, like fearfulness, that we carry long after the moment of threat has passed?

And the sweet things too, that we keep:  I'm gonna take a sentimental journey.  Maybe the coyote has his moments of reverie, I have no way of knowing.  But I'm willing to bet good money that his missed opportunity stayed exactly where he left it.  On the hillside under a bare-branched poplar near a small pond surrounded by wild turkeys.  All of whom lived to peacefully graze their way into the evening into another day.