On Saturday night, BB and I were returning home to Chicago's North Side from some friends' barbecue on the far South Side. As we drove east on Lawrence Avenue, we saw a huge and beautiful coyote walk out into the street, then retreat back into the line of parked cars on the south side of Lawrence, opposite the cemetery at Clark and Lawrence.
It was much larger than other pictures of I've seen of Chicago area coyotes — but it was definitely a coyote, thin and grey and graceful, with that Ur-dog cleanliness of line that marks some canine species and breeds.
All I could think to say was "Oh, the poor thing!"
I immediately chided myself for saying that; after all, coyotes are very successful urban creatures, defiantly staying in the city when our human narrative decrees that they should long since have ceded the territory to us.
Instead, like other animals we arrogant humans mistake for interlopers — the cheeky and delightfully vulgar raccoons, those determined waddlers the fluffy and aromatic skunks, the hordes of quivering bunnies and fearless squirrels, the possums with their beautiful liquid eyes and nasty insectivore snouts, even the occasional confused deer or delicate fox — coyotes refuse to buy into that narrative.
I know that, like most wild predators, they endanger many of the animals humans people their world with, such as dogs and cats. The larger wild predators can even, theoretically at least, be a danger to humans under certain conditions. I also know that coyotes are successfully holding at least some ground in the city. They aren't in danger of disappearing, much to the chagrin of humans who believe they should do so.
And yet, as I saw that coyote trot out of sight and back into the shadows beyond the street lamps, safe for the moment from cars and other human dangers, I breathed a sigh of relief and a hope that it would continue to successfully throw a spanner into our urban works.
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