March 22, 2006


I just realized that the ten years I've been in New York have desensitized me to the absurd. A couple of years ago a full grown tiger was found in a Harlem apartment. Apparently the owner had brought it into the apartment as a cub and was finally found out when a downstairs neighbor called the police and told them of a "large wild animal" lurking in the apartment upstairs whose urine had seeped into her apartment.

So when the news broke that a coyote was found in Central Park yesterday it didn't seem anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it kind of made sense. Of course a coyote was found in Central Park. If there was any place a coyote would be found in this nightmare of a city it would be there. Given the choice between Penn Station and Central Park that's where I'd go. A little time in the park can do a hell of a lot to soothe the nerves. Especially if you're a coyote. But upon further reports and deeper reflection, I had a bit of a realization. I'm not a coyote.

With the exception of a few bad acid trips I've spent most my life under the impression I'm human and as only an indignant few have gone out of their way to label me otherwise I've pretty much accepted it as a fact. Given the opportunity I suppose I wouldn't mind being a coyote for a day or two, just to get an idea what it's like, but certainly not in New York City. Hell being human here is hard enough. No, if I were a coyote I'd much prefer the wilds of the Catskills or the Adirondacks to this mess. Sadly, that won't be happening any time soon, at least not in this life. Perhaps it will in the next. One can only hope.

At any rate, I got around to actually thinking about it and the more I thought about it the more incredulous I became. The fact that the damned thing actually made it to Central Park without being run down by a delivery truck or held as ransom by a dope fiend is nothing short of miraculous. Considering he had tens of miles of urban sprawl to make his way through before he even reached Manhattan is amazing enough, but add to that the fact that he had either to cross one of a handful of bridges with limited access to pedestrians or swim to the other side of either the Hudson or East Rivers to get there and you've got yourself one hell of a courageous critter. Then there's the tens, perhaps even hundreds of congested city blocks he'd have had to navigate his way through, assuming he knew where he was going of course. I'm sure there's some high minded animal rights activist out there who'd assert he did, but I ain't one of them.

No, I'm more inclined to believe that like so many others of us who come here looking for who knows what, he had absolutely know idea where in the hell he was going, or why for that matter. Further to that he clearly had no idea where he was coming from, 'cause if he'd did, he'd likely have stayed there. But that's a debate better applied to we humans. We're just as bad, if not worse about having no idea where we've come from until we've already left. And on top of that we're actually held accountable when finally figure it out. The worst that can happen to a coyote is he can get shot in the ass with a tranquilizer and wake up in the woods wondering how the hell he got there. I've often wished I could suffer a similar fate, but if anybody's going to rescue me from the city it sure as hell ain't gonna' be somebody from the New York Department of Wildlife. If anything it'll be someone from the N.Y.P.D. Or the flight deck at Bellevue.

You know, amazing as it is that a coyote can make his way from the wilds of upstate New York to Central Park what's more amazing to me is how we humans did it. He was just doing what he had to do. He sure as hell didn't question himself about his motives. Misguided as he may have been he just followed his nose and left the rest to nature. What baffles me more is the question of how the rest of us got here and why we came. Though we could all cite a multitude of reasons why we chose New York as a place to live, I have a sneaking suspicion we did it the same way he did it. After years of trying to get things right in life it sure does feel like it. Perhaps we're not all that different from that coyote in the park after all, perhaps we just think we are. Hmn. I'll have to mull that over as I make my way home. That is if I don't get lost along the way.

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