Building Sweetness (10)

I started walking again last Tuesday. I go early in the morning, walk along the creek path. I’m trying to train myself into summer mode, but I’m behind on my sleep. I’m proud of myself, though, and hopeful. I walked almost every day for years before it fell away, and I’ve been wanting to return to it for a long time now. I’m hoping to get up even earlier, be out by the creek bed closer to the first real light. But I want to be kind to myself in this, too, so I am not pushing, and I’m going to play it by ear, let myself go back to sleep when I need to, trust I can ease into this. This morning I wake to the waning moon calling to me in the lightening western sky, birds alive in distant trees. I roll over and go back to sleep. When I walk later, I stop on the footbridge, taking it all in, grateful for this swathe of wildness in the middle of town. I close my eyes, and when I open them I see an animal in the gully. At first I think it might be a deer. I know it must be a coyote, but it seems impossibly thin, and its walk is odd, choppy, un-canine-like. I watch it ramble, climb to the dirt path, slip off into the side streets when a person approaches. I say metta for her without thinking. May you be safe and free from harm. My chest aches. I keep watching for her on my way home. As I walk, I stop worrying. Instead, I dream up the world I want us to live in. I picture a world where we are all safe, where we all have everything we need to thrive. I picture a world where there are systems in place to help. I can make a call. A group of people fan out to find the coyote. They clean her up, feed her. (She was shaking her ears, itchy all over, so skinny it hurts.) I imagine food drops up the canyon for them, once a day, picture animal psychics explaining they can come to eat, to have their wounds looked after. I dream I am one of them. I look into the eyes of “my” coyote. You’re not alone anymore, I say. I outline the routine in my mind, the daily food drops, the tending of wounds. She twitches one ear, stares back at me for a long moment, wary. She wriggles once, all tender hope. Then she settles in to eat.

[Editor’s note: I can’t be certain, but I think I owe this interlude to how The Secret has affected me, to becoming even more aware of when I can just build good pictures, can reach for hope, dream up sweetness in the world.]

Coyote Tears (9)

In spite of good intentions, I am late and run to the bus stop. I am grabbing adventure today, rushing off early on a Sunday morning, unheard of for me. On Sundays I like to laze around daydreaming over the “Travel” section of the L.A. Times, read my horoscope, eat scrambled eggs. Now as I hurry toward the bus stop I see a coyote in the park. She gets spooked, changes course and runs along the edge of the street behind me. When I turn to look at her she shies away. If I thought I could herd her back to safety, I would abandon my bus. But I know I would only scare her. She is running like a lost dog, hesitant, jerky. I am afraid to even look at her, afraid she will veer away from me into the path of a car. So instead I pray, loud, silent, fierce prayer that she be guided home, that she be kept safe. Please oh please. She stops near the corner, and I point down the street like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. “That way would be good,” I say. She goes in the other direction, heading east. My throat hurts as she disappears. She is so lost, so tender, so very alone in this scary place. I look for her when I am on the bus, hoping she will make it, some scent will be familiar, and she will find her way. I don’t see her. The bus turns the corner, heading north, and I am sure I will not see her now. But there she is. She runs across the street in front of the bus, her panic rising. In moments we are past, and I can’t see her anymore. I cry then, big fat tears that come fast, wet my face in seconds. I turn away from people, toward the window. I push my glasses up, wipe my face with the backs of my hands, surprised and a little embarrassed. Please oh please oh please.