Gusty Winds and Gutsy Coyote

2016-08-13

It wasn’t just a wind-in-the-willows gentle breeze. The gusts today whipped the trees and grasses around, blew my tied-on sunhat right off after blowing the rim over on itself every time I pulled it down, and it was strong enough to push me off balance on a rocky trail. Whoa! It was even difficult to hold the camera steady. Often, winds accompany our much-loved fog which serves as natural air-conditioning, keeping summer temperatures here in San Francisco regularly in the 60s (54 this evening) with pockets of warmness in-between. Today they were uncommonly gusty and strong. And the gutsy little coyote was out in it.

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Why “gutsy”? Why would I call a coyote that? Because he appeared intrepid, indomitable, and plucky maneuvering through that very scary landscape. His actions and expressions told me that he was afraid, but he trudged on.  He not only braved the normally dangerous-for-him park landscape, avoiding detection by dogs and humans, but also, today, he coped with all the startling noises and sudden movements caused by the incessant bursts of gusty winds: cracking branches, brambles and sand suddenly in movement along a path, leaves flying through the air, tree branches whipping this way and that, bushes leaning over and then snapping back up again — and, the wind itself pushing against him. I know this, because I, too, felt it.

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He flinched, he ducked, he startled & spooked, crouched low, made sudden darts, looked up and around. And then he continued on his way, sometimes ignoring these interferences as he got used to them while keeping his head low, and sometimes reacting to the unexpected, like the release of a tight rubber-band. What struck me was his total and keen awareness of every detailed effect of that spooky wind, which heightened my own awareness of it all as I watched him, and heightened my awareness of him in his environment: today I appreciated him as a really gutsy coyote!

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