Every morning I go out for a walk. I start around 6:00 before it gets hot and I walk along the sidewalk past a nature park and open gullys, past the high school, through residential areas, into the hills and home again. In a 50 minute walk sometimes I see nothing of interest except flowering trees and scampering squirrels. One time a skunk! Occasionally, like yesterday, I'll catch a glimpse of a coyote.
I don't remember coyotes when I was a child... maybe a memory of something baying from the hills but that could have been a neighbor's dog. More and more though, the coyotes venture down into the brush surrounding corrals and private driveways. When I see them in the morning I think of scrawny, furred vampires that have been caught unaware in the morning light. In the few minutes after dawn, the coyote claims the highway as his own, sauntering carelessly right in the middle until he hears a car approaching and then he darts away into the brush. On one hand I feel sorry for the coyotes, their natural habitat taken over by tract homes that now look over the valley, on the other hand, I know that when a cat or dog goes missing, it is probably because the more cunning coyote found himself a dinner.
Another morning this week I came across a police barricade, and traffic and walkers were being directed to a different street. Although the street is wide and traffic free, young people will take the chance of driving too fast, or maybe even drinking while driving and the car veers off leaving skid marks in the street and a car crumpled against a telephone post. I did not check the news for the result of that accident. The phone lines were down for most of the day though...
I will meet walkers and joggers on my morning jaunt. Some whom I've known for years! But I never know their names... only that they walk or jog every morning at the same time. With a few I have stopped and chatted and if they have a dog I'll ask the dog's name. One or two of the morning exercisers know that I am visiting from Japan and they have asked me about the earthquake. One man is jogging alone this year as his loyal bloodhound passed on since last summer.
There is a hill of houses across the street from us, and their mailboxes and house numbers line the road. For all the years I've lived or visited this area I've never bothered to find out WHY the house number is like this. Hey, it might be kind of neat to be able to say "I live at 2318 and one half".
This morning I rounded a corner near home and came upon three gentlemen out riding their horses. The man in the hat was obviously the owner of these fine animals and when I asked, he graciously halted their progress into the hills to let me photograph. I have never been one to go horseback riding just because I detest the idea of riding an animal round and round and round a ring like one sees at the fairgrounds. I can imagine these horses stirring up dust and kicking aside tumbleweeds and feeling their hearts beat with excitement for the trails ahead. Now that, I could enjoy! (Who knows... the horses may really be weary of going up the same route up the hill...)
The coyotes are probably watching the horses from the top of the peak.