I had been separated from my group.
I saw the animal with an untidy grey-buff coat, somewhat slender but imposing, wolf-sized, unquestionably moving in my direction.
The correct advice jumped through my thoughts: Don’t run. Stay with other people. If alone, wave your arms and look big. I glanced sideways to ascertain whether the other people I’d been with were within range. No.
I ran—a this-isn’t-really-running run. The coyote matched my pace, coming closer. There was no getting away. I thought I might well be chewed up momentarily. I imagined the wounds, the emergency room. With my whole being I would strive to turn the media to call for understanding and respect. All of this flashed through my mind in an instant.
Now, the coyote-wolf was at my hand. I averted my eyes, so as not to be a threat, and blanking out my own fear. My hand swept over the muzzle of the being in charge of my immediate fate. And the being paused, having felt my hand, and looked at me closely, and then moved off. I felt a surge of emotion—of awe.
Who would have the temerity to try to tame such an animal, to make such beings belong to us?
“I just saw a coyote-wolf hybrid.”
The person I told, some official in the area, asked, “Did you chase the animal off?”
“No. I ran. And that was no good, so I stopped. We got close enough to touch. I didn’t plan to—there is no reason for alarm.”
The official answered: So-and-so would have just loved to have seen that coyote-wolf. I left my story to be told and woke up, knowing. That is exactly how I’d behave. With that coyote-wolf, at least.
Image: Eastern coyote, from ForestWander.
What a wonderful dream about trust. If only the world could be a safer place for all species.
Thank you for sharing, Lee.
Thank you, Emy.
Lee. I would really be interested in hearing your own interpretation of the dream.
That could begin another post, Emy. I’m in the middle of writing on law and policy surrounding the Eastern coyotes and their vital role as apex predators in the eastern region of the United States.
Governments (local, state, federal) and media have essentially constructed a war on deer, claiming there are too many. Why are deer numbers on the rise? Formerly, they were being aided by game departments. At this stage, a lot of what we’re seeing, I believe, is compensatory reproduction in response to the more recent trend of mass nighttime shootings. Deer biology will fill vacuums quickly—especially when the vacuums are created abruptly.
But why the rising population in the first place? Because of a dearth of large carnivores and omnivores. Coyotes and bobcats are capable of checking deer populations but hunters, farmers, and government contractors are pitted against them.
There is little public sympathy for wolves, coyotes, and coyote-wolf hybrids—even in advocacy circles. These beings intimidate people. I think an educated, ecologically sane populace would respect coyotes—as individual beings, as communities, as participants in a balanced biosphere.
Underlying predator-control policy is human insecurity and fear. So I think in the dream I was reflecting on my own. I do a lot of walking (and occasional sleeping) in the woods. Should I have an encounter with a coyote-wolf or a bear, what’s going to happen? Most likely, nothing. They sniff the tent; they move on. But in the rare case I’m confronted by one of these beings, I’d like to think I’d do the right thing. In my dream, I believe I did. I’m a little surprised that I came into contact, but it was on the coyote-wolf’s terms.
I also think a lot about how vital it is to respect such a being and not let our awe of those larger or stronger than ourselves bring out an urge to conquer. As that is the theme of this blog, I figured I’d record the dream here. Usually it takes weeks to write a blog item; that one just flowed from the dream.
Respect for other species is something many people don”t have. Hence, humans are certainly very good at messing up the balance of Nature.
Listen to your dreams, they are telling you something.
All the best with your work 🙂
I read this the afternoon before I drove from Baltimore to Cincinnati for the Free The Animals Conference. I drove at night, stopping a few times to nap, and it was 24 hrs past the full moon. I mulled this essay over a few times in my mind, on the trip. I’ve seen a few really huge coyotes… one in particular that I saw drinking from a water bowl in very early dawn light. That coyote was the size of a large german shepherd, and was gone in a flash when I moved by the window. This essay reminded me of that coyote, and the complete independence of being I saw at that moment.