I was standing in a big, dirty parking lot in the industrial part of town. Think concrete and gas fumes. It would be difficult to find a less natural setting. And it was raining, causing rivulets of polluted snowmelt to criss cross the pavement as far as the eye could see.

That’s when I spotted her. A coyote, running down the sidewalk as semi trucks blasted past. She looked mangy and emaciated. I’ve never seen anything that looked so feral in my life.

I was fascinated, but also glad that she hadn’t come too close. There was something surreal about seeing her there. It was almost like she was floating in outer space. This should not be her environment.

She was focused on her mission, whatever that may have been. She didn’t acknowledge me, although I’m sure she was acutely aware of my presence. Nothing was going to get in her way, not even an 18 wheeler. And she was quiet. If I hadn’t been looking that direction, I’d have never known she was there.

I had never come face to face with a coyote before. I know they’re around. I sometimes hear them howling in the park behind our house. It always gives me a frisson. And it makes me worry for my Dachshund.

But to see one is something else again. It’s like being confronted by the raw power of nature. Even in her weakened state, I had no doubt that she was stronger than me, and much more capable of surviving.

At the same time, I felt sorry for her, living on the ugliest, dirtiest fringes of human civilization. We have done this. We have encroached. She shouldn’t have to live like this.

None of us should have to live like this.

https _upload.wikimedia.org_wikipedia_commons_6_6f_Coyote_in_Griffith_Park_3

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that?

Signs and Portents

One day a friend of mine was doing some gardening and a foot long mullet fell out of the sky with a thud, missing him by mere feet. Apparently the neighborhood osprey had butter fingers. You don’t expect fish to fall out of the sky. It sort of challenges your sense of reality.

Coyotes have been seen in Central Park in New York City. Kind of makes you not want to walk your Yorkie without a body guard. Speaking of which, when I lived in South Florida, a neighbor told me that she was walking her little dog and a bobcat jumped out of the bushes and carried it off, never to be seen again.

And another friend was sitting at a red light in stormy weather when all of a sudden all the lights in the area went out, and a tornado crossed through the intersection right in front of her. She said it was as if a car were crossing through. A big, loud, scary, dangerous, windy car. But my friend’s vehicle wasn’t moved at all.

And I’ve already told you about my strange encounter with a dolphin that does bird calls.

About a decade ago, a hurricane picked up thousands of frog eggs from the tropics and gently deposited them all on a gentleman’s front porch in Connecticut. None of them landed anywhere else.

A couple years ago scientists were studying a dust cloud in outer space and discovered it contained the same chemical that gives raspberries their flavor. I don’t know why, but that makes me happy.

Back in November, 2012 I read a National Geographic article which stated that scientists have tested the microbial contents of the human belly button, and discovered some strange stuff. One guy had bacteria that had previously been found only in soil in Japan, but he’d never been to Japan. Another guy had some bacteria that usually only thrives in ice caps and thermal vents.

And in a book by my favorite author, Bill Bryson, called A Short History of Nearly Everything, he discusses, among other fascinating things, a slug that turns into a plant. This is not a fictional book. I’ve been unable to forget that fun fact.

We like to think we are privy to the laws of nature, but I’m beginning to think there are none.


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