From time to time, someone asks why I don’t write about the meaner, nastierÂ side of nature, especially the predator-prey drama.Â Until I go on that man-eating African lion-hunting tripÂ or bagÂ me an AlaskanÂ grizzly or happen to be on hand when a puma takes down a mule deer buck, I just don’t have much to offer on predator vs. prey.Â Sorry.
However, something did come to mind the other day, musings upon a kind of predator-prey relationship that I jotted down in my hiking journal as IÂ strolled through Crossfire.Â It isn’t pretty, but I thought I’d pass it along.
Warning: This post shows Patricia in a mood.Â If you’re in a mood today, Â you might want to skip this one.Â Â Â
May 21, 2009
Overcast, humid, cooler-that-has-been morning.Â I set out for Coyote Way, the trailÂ leading down into Crossfire Canyon.Â As usual, I pass my mouldering friend,Â the dead coyoteÂ Â lyingÂ off to one side ofÂ the trailhead.Â I stop to look at him whenever I takeÂ this path.Â Â
After a month of decompostion heÂ looks considerably worse for wear, though that lovely triangular earformÂ still holdsÂ up well.Â Â Gone, theÂ shine and softness his coat had when he was first dumped.Â Â Matted patches have loosened, as ifÂ he were going through a heavy shed,Â orÂ they have been peeled backÂ in the course of someÂ otherÂ scavenger’s work.Â A gaping entrance into his inner cavern has formed in his side.Â Â His coat has taken on the patina of old carpetÂ across whose nap mud hasÂ been trackedÂ and into whose fibers a wide variety of liquids has soaked.Â The flies that earlier clouded his vicinity have gone through their cycle; no insects are visible, though something must be creepingÂ through the body.Â Every time I stop here, I wonder how and whyÂ this animalÂ died.Â Anything could have happened, but the dominant reason folks kill these animals—if, in fact, he was killed—can usually be summed up in this word: competition.
Â A week ago, windsÂ blowing up out of the canyon carried the scent ofÂ the coyote’s chemical crush into the earth.Â Today, cliffrose pollen lightly perfumesÂ breezesÂ swirling past. Continue reading Field Notes #5