Monday, February 11, 2008

Coyote, not cougar, thank you

Let's imagine it's your birthday - a big one, a bookend, a decade marker, a critical moment to reaffirm the continuation of your incredibly prolonged adolescence. It's a time for reflection and resistance. Maybe you're turning thirty, like I just did.

Now imagine that you've chosen to spend the celebratory weekend with a few of your closest friends, in a sweet little country house beside a creek and surrounded by fields of fluffy snow. You are fuelled by copious amounts of wine, decadent snacks and bad jokes. You are already feeling that it couldn't really get better than this, and settle in to cuddle with the mellow, squishy-faced dog in the glow of the fireplace.

The next morning, you venture out to add your tracks to the fresh snow, among the tens of coyote and rabbit trails in the forest behind the house. Then you opt, as a precautionary move, to drive into town to restock the red wine supply, and when you arrive the wine store clerk bestows an unforeseeable and extraordinary blessing upon you. On this, your thirtieth birthday, you are asked to show ID.

Still thrilled from the experience, and enjoying unseasonably agreeable winter weather, you bundle up and settle in on a small wooden deck overlooking the creek to talk the night away in the crisp, clean air. Though you didn't know it at the time, at 2:30 in the morning the sun would return to the exact same position it had at the minute of your birth. As though to make sure the moment wouldn't pass unnoticed, on cue and only a few feet away, a coyote bursts forth from the bushes and bounds past you into the dark of the trees. Holy crap. You nearly pee.

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