Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Running With The Coyotes

The word "Coyote" has a number of definitions. There's the Arizona pro hockey team. There's the evil people who illegally bring people into the US across our borders often giving them inhuman conditions and treatment during the journey. There's the Road Runner's nemesis in the cartoon many of us watched growing up and then, there are the actual, real, non-animated animals. We lived in Phoenix almost 9 years and so, on occasion we'd see one or two. 

This morning I got up early for a 45 minute run before catching a plane back to Omaha. Jen and I had enjoyed a nice week with our kids there. About 5:20am, just as it got light outside, I headed out the door in the Cactus and Tatum area. I headed east to a wash that went north/south and headed north. The wash was widened out to about 100 yds. across. I ran on the far right side and as I glanced to my left I spied wait, there's another one...four coyotes. Hold on...there's a fifth one. Cool. I love seeing non-domesticated animals out in nature.

This wasn't quite "in nature" as it was a fairly populated, residential area but as the folks in Phoenix know, that doesn't stop these critters. Two were chasing each other, playing together, they were all basically running north parallel to me about 50 yds. to my left. Cool again. Running with the coyotes. They ran a little faster than I did and disappeared behind a bridge I was running towards. As I went under the street, there they were again continuing north just a bit ahead of me. (You may be totally bored now and if you are that too is cool. You can bail anytime.)

But, I've always loved nature and God's amazing creation. I love the incredible creativity and diversity of all that He's made. So, seeing five coyotes running along beside me was a treat. As I turned back to retrace the same route back, they too turned and started going south. Serious? Double cool. Will they run all the way back with me? They didn't but that's OK. I wondered where they "lived." I assume they'd been out all night on a scavenger hunt looking for food and water. They've been known to easily jump over 7 ft. walls that surround Phoenix homes to drink out of swimming pools and maybe grab small pets for dinner. Yikes.

I've always felt sorry for the coyotes. They look skinny and thirsty. Gaunt and lean. Probably over-populated. I'm sure they do some damage and bad things in areas where folks live, but they're just trying to survive. Here are a few interesting facts about coyotes:

1 - They hunt in packs
2 - They "sing" to their family members to communicate when apart
3 - Both the male and female care for their pups

I try to learn something everyday and as I ran with the coyotes this morning I wondered what I could learn or what the Lord might want to teach me through this little, cool encounter. Here's my best shot at it.

*There's strength in numbers. Since coyotes can run in packs, so I was reminded of how important the positive, encouraging people in my life are to me. I need to hang with them, run in the pack with them (literally and figuratively.)

*It's good to "sing" / communicate with your family. In this day of nano-communication and texting, actually talking and laughing (like what people do when I sing) is SO important.

*If you're a dad, don't bail on the responsibility you have to raise the pups. Strong, engaged, loving fathers are at the core of this nation and the lack thereof is a primary reason for the meltdown of the family.

If you get a chance to run with coyotes, do it. You might learn something like I did. Ok...that's all.