I walked around a park in the very early morning rain — the rain was not extremely heavy today, but it was continuous. It might have been a miserable walk without my rain gear: wetness brings sticky clothing, hair stuck to your face, coldness, especially to your hands, difficulty seeing if the rain is coming at your face.
But if you have the proper equipment, such a walk is truly a magical experience. First of all, it is very peaceful because no one else is around: very few walkers and dogs can be seen — none when I went. But also, one becomes very aware of each rain drop and the sound of them all, of the change in the paths caused by the rain, of cascading water run-offs, of large puddles that have accumulated, of rain drops in these puddles forming concentric circles of tiny little waves expanding outwards. It is all very beautiful.
Here, where it rains so seldom, the rains bring immediate changes. The biggest change so far has been color: brown (what we Californian’s call “gold”) has given way to emerald green, which will now last through the springtime.
What about coyotes in the rain? I have noticed a coyote curl up on a hill right before a rain began — I’m wondering if it knew that rain was imminent? If it had, would it not have moved on? As it began to drizzle, the coyote stayed out at first, maybe for about 20 minutes as the mist became stronger. And then, at a certain point, it must have stopped being fun for the coyote — rain in one’s face can be annoying. The coyote got up and went away.
Within the last week we’ve had a lot of heavy rain in the Bay Area. I did notice one coyote on a hilltop in the mid-heavy rain — no one else was in the park. This sighting was very brief before the coyote disappeared. Otherwise, my only sign of coyotes during this storm has been several “twisted ropes” of scat on the regular paths. So they are out and about, probably during the lulls in the downpours, and during darker hours, since I found these in the early morning.
Coyotes, like the rest of us, would prefer not getting wet for the most part. In this respect, they are also similar to dogs: my dog didn’t mind getting damp, but a walk in pouring rain was not his idea of fun — he was always happy to get back home and be dried off. He did not like rain in his face, nor did he like being soaked. Dog coats accumulate a lot of water — it always took three bath towels to dry my dog.
A coyote’s coat would repel more water than a dog’s simply because it is oilier and has never been washed, but it would still get pretty wet. At this time of year coyotes have a much fuller and thicker coat — they look like quite full-bodied animals, whereas in the springtime, when these heavy coats are shed, coyotes can look exceedingly scrawny. A coyote has an outer weather-protective coat, and then the thick, insulating undercoat which is grown in the fall and shed in springtime.
One other connection worth noting regarding dogs. The coyotes appear interested in the dogs that walk in the park, especially dogs which have taunted them in some way, such as barking at them or chasing them, even dogs that tug on a leash in the coyote’s direction. I have noticed that these dogs in particular draw the coyotes’ interest: the coyotes keep an eye on them more intently than on the other dogs. The coyotes have come in the direction of a couple of these dogs, but never actually close enough to interact. Maybe the coyotes have a need to “settle the score”, or possibly test these dogs for how far they really might go? I’m keeping track of this. These particular dogs have not been walking in this heavy rain. But I’m wondering if fewer dogs, and especially fewer of the “difficult” dogs, might also be why the coyotes themselves are not out recently — or is it only because of the rain? It is food for thought.