I grabbed the rope and scrambled up the cliff.
Yeah, knee meniscus problems and all that crap,
but I had been working out.
All that upper body strength was still there,
and I climbed this particular cliff faster
than ever before.
I willed it be, wanted it to be, and would not let
my last visit to this beach be compromised
by a weak effort.
I clamored fast and wicked like a black widow
closing on a fly.
And there I was... almost to the
last ledge, pulling myself up hand over hand. Until
I encountered the deep amber eyes.
No, I did not take this photo. My GoCam was off. I was using both hands just to struggle up the cliff. But this is what I saw. Beautiful contemplative eyes, taking in my preoccupied hands as I clung to some weak coastal shrubs. A predator who recognized an edge. Minutes, or what seemed like them, came and went.
We ended the stand-off by doing what all males do under such circumstances. We bluffed. I pulled my lips back and attempted a growl. His growl was better, his teeth more impressive.
Then he dusted me with dirt and ran up the last few yards to the top of the cliff.
But he turned for a final look: "What the hell was that all about?" we both thought.
He was Canis Fimilarius, genetically identical to my dog Stewie at home but a
sub-branch of canines that had long ago rejected human companionship.
Nothing personal. And we both went our own way.
As I write this tonight and swear this to be true, his kin are howling crazily not far outside my window.
It's time to take Stewie for his final walk--and I need to keep him on a tight leash.
Wild ones have a different attitude.
Three days after writing this brief piece of nothing, I was in the desert riding a quad motorcycle. I was afraid that the night would be long and I would have little to read, so I downloaded a recent Dean Koontz novel titled "The Taking".
Soon after dark I read the first few chapters to my friend Bob. Who knows why I was prompted to do this and thank God I have friends that will tolerate the weirdness of one adult reading to another.
Anyway, the story begins with a woman afflicted with insomnia who wakes up to powerful and supernaturally strange rain pouring down on her mountain cabin above San Bernardino. She decides to use her insomnia to work on a novel but hears noises on the front porch. At first she thinks she sees wolves but they are in fact coyotes, coyotes with such an imploring look in their eyes that she goes out and joins them. They rub against her legs having momentarily abondoned their fear of humans, because they know that something way more scary is on its way...
So I read for twenty minutes and afterwards slept straight through the night. I wanted to watch the stars but was just too tired.
The next morning we headed into town for breakfast, having planed to eat at the cafe where we ate the night before. It was closed. We drove on saw The Coyote cafe. An excellent place for breakfast, and I'd recommend it to anyone stuck in California City.
Pictures of coytes, cute little cartoons, and a full plaster mask of a coyote head right above our table. My appetite was off and I was having trouble finishing my breakfast.
"Did you hear the ruckus last night?"
"No," I said.
"Something big, probably a coyote," Bob said. "I think he was trying to get some liquid out of your 7-up can."
"Really? Sorry, I missed that. I should've done a better job of cleaning up before bed."
But I was more sorry I hadn't left out a bowl of water for our thirsty visitor. We had plenty of it.
"Well who knows what that was all about, Bob? The Navahos call Mr. Coyote "The Trickster" because he's always up to something."
And I wondered what kind of mischief Mr. Coyote was working to make himself such a frequent visitor in my mind.
And worried that I might find out.