Walking down to pick up our mail last week, a loose dog trotted towards me alongside the road. About the size of a German Shepherd, tan and sleek, he didn’t skip a step, not a bit shy. Surprised, since we don’t tend to have loose dogs around here, I looked closer – into the yellow eyes of a very happy coyote. Yowzers. Worried about my old dog, I sauntered home, the coyote disappearing like smoke on a misty day.
I mentioned my sighting on a Facebook page for my neighborhood, and someone wondered if I was trying to alarm the neighborhood – where was my proof? Next time get a photo! Except my posting was meant as celebration of our wild life here among us.
Today my younger dog and I walked in a park which is located on one of our feeder creeks that flow into the Willamette, a little further south from here, and listened to the music of the water over a beaver dam as we stood on a little bridge together.
And so many Canadian geese, like this one standing sentinel at the entrance to the park. They keep up a running commentary along with the ducks nearby, a daily vibrant conference call heard by anyone in the vicinity. Sometimes their calls sound like women howling with grief.
Sea lions bark from time to time, heading up to the falls in Oregon City, or coming back from their salmon snacking. Quite a sight.
A good friend on mine lives along the river north of here, and tells me that they have seen cougar. Others tell of a deer and her fawn, last year, up on the bluff, on a road at dusk. Herons flying overhead sometimes land in our hemlock trees, along with our resident squirrels and countless birds of all sorts, especially throughout the winter. Hummingbirds, native bees, garter snakes, bunny rabbits…. we are a thriving community.
Read recently that two countries have passed laws giving legal rights to wild life and to nature, in effect giving them lawyers for protection. One might be Ecuador, but I can’t remember for sure. What a great idea!
Just read Finding Beauty in a Broken World, by Terry Tempest Williams. She connects the ecocide or genocide of the prairie dogs (varmits) who live in Utah and Colorado with the genocide in Rawanda ten years or so ago. One million Tutsis were slaughtered in 100 days. The survivors tell of their river running red, thousands of bodies creating dams that caused flooding into homes, compounding the horrors. I try to imagine the Willamette running red with murdered neighbors, bodies choking the flow. Survivors tell her that before the killing, authorities with loud speakers stirred up the younger men with speeches filled with hatred, calling the Tutsies “varmits”, and she compares that to the hate radio now in the US, filling the airwaves and TV, owned by only a few families.
We are, in her words, a hair’s breadth away from such violence here.
The sound of the tide coming in is soothing on the river, and I stand and watch the children playing with their parents, dangling their feet in the cold water, squealing with glee. Finding beauty in our broken world.