Old Daily Shows--November 2003

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Sunday November 23, 2003 Animal dreams

Last night, while I slept, I was a coyote. Other coyotes liked me, because I was smart and friendly and had a wonderful coat of fur, thick and luxurious and a shimmering grey in color. I found my coyote-self considering life and wondering about it, wondering why we did what we did.

My favorite thing, I think, was to run. It was nice to laze about in the sunshine, and it was great to find food and eat it with my friends of the pack. But it was great to run. I think my name had something to do with running, because I was always running everywhere, even when I didn't have to. No particular reason, kind of like Forrest Gump or Emily, but with a single goal in mind.

I loved the wind. Feeling it rushing past me, ruffling my fur, was like nothing else, and my coyote-self adored it. It would run over my nose and muzzle, and catch on my ears. The fur on my back always felt slicked down and streamlined when I ran with the wind, and I wondered what I looked like. My tail was always flying straight out behind me when I ran, pointing like a weathervane in the other direction.

And so I ran and ran and ran, and life was good.

There were, predictably, problems. There were other coyotes, Bad ones, with whom we sometimes fought. I thought that was silly, because I remember reading somewhere that coyotes don't really fight with each other. But we had to fight because the other coyotes were fighting us. We must have won sometimes, because very little changed when the battles were over. For whatever reason, win or lose, coyotes never seemed to die on either side--just minor injuries. In retrospect, it seems rather a better way to wage a war than the modern human way.

We had a wonderful home for our pack. We lived on the east side of a small mountain, so our home was shadowed in the evening. Sometimes we had fires in the evening, and we'd lie about and talk and watch the stars and the bats and the moon. Don't ask me how coyotes lit fires; I have no idea. But we did, and they were good.

And life as a coyote was good. When I woke up, I was a bit sad to find that I had no tail and no coyote-home. There's a war on here, too, but it's not a coyote war. Humans seem not to understand that you can fight to establish territory without destroying lives, like the coyotes in my dream did.

I find myself wishing I could run like I did as a coyote. I can't, of course. Sleek and streamlined are words not normally used to describe me, but the main problem is that you need to have a functioning pair of lungs to run, and exercise-induced asthma destroys mine whenever I try to do serious aerobic exercise. I miss my tail, flying out behind me. And I miss the wind.

But I woke up happy, and feeling somewhat rested, which is new and good. Thank you, coyotes, for sharing a dream with me.

Strange that I used to be so terrified of coyotes. They're close enough to wolves to frighten me--I had the most amazing fear of wolves. As always happens with things that scare me to death, I was also fascinated by them. I read about them, watched them in zoos, thought about them, all the way being scared of them. My parents must have grown so tired of comforting me when I woke up crying in the middle of the night because a wolf was chasing me or biting me.

That fear/study pair seems to be my pattern for anything that really scares me. I did it with wolves; I did it with Jurassic Park; and I've done it since my earliest days with medical procedures of any kind. I wonder what that says about me.

But I remember the wind, and running with it.

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