What of her and them?

These past weeks I’ve spied a female coyote (Canis latrans) and her three pups near Dixon Branch at White Rock Lake, the lot of them grouped together in meager early-morning light near Poppy Drive and Loop 12.  The circumstances precluded images presentable here, yet that fails to diminish the photographs locked in my mind.

When last I saw them, a week ago yesterday, she limped and they seemed thin, at least from a distance, at least within the purview of my limited human vision.

What of the family? I wonder.  What of her and them?

Had she been hit by a car, by some stoic motorist coldly driving without a thought as to what might be in the road?  As spring has beset us, the proof of that mentality became increasingly apparent.  I’ve seen dead squirrels, opossums, raccoons, skunks, birds of many feathers, and a great deal of other wildlife left as so much carnage in the roadways, so much carrion upon which other creatures feed—some of them becoming prey to the same dangers that created the meal that so tempted them.

Spring.  Too much life on the move, too many creatures looking to mate and raise broods, too many beings victimized by their own compulsion to dive headlong into the season’s clarion call: Go forth and multiply, give birth, grow life, make love and offspring, and bring to this world the hope of a new season, a contrast to that which has controlled us throughout winter.

Or had she been bitten by some venomous challenger?  As with all who trundle about nature’s womb this time of year, even those deadly to all opposition rise under the warming sun to seek out mates, to give of their genetic being as insurance for a future generation.

Had she succumbed to one of a number of poisonous creatures occupying these parts?  Dare I ponder if the limp I saw was a precursor to a state more horrifying than mere pain, a mention of the unmentionable to come?  I hope not.

What of her and them?

Why—even with my better-than-perfect vision under less-than-perfect circumstances—why did the pups seem uncomfortably thin?  Are they starving due to her injury and condition?  Is she unable to find enough sustenance to keep her body capable of providing for them?

Or are they old enough to consume adult meals yet finding no such meals forthcoming?  A spartan table spells certain doom for the young.  Those who cannot hunt for themselves will perish if parents are unwilling or unable to provide.

What of her and them?

I did not see them yesterday during my walk.  I looked.  I spent a great deal of time loitering about that part of the lake which has defined their recent existence.  Unfortunately to no avail.

Did I simply miss them?  Had they already started the day by leaving home early?  Had I ventured out later than usual only to miss our expected sunrise encounter?

What of her and them?

White Rock Lake is replete with all manner of wildlife, all manner of nature clinging precariously to this tiny urban refuge too often abused and soiled by our kind.  It offers few choices for ingress and egress, paths otherwise surrounded by the killing machinations of heartless people busying themselves with selfish motives and uncaring about the carrion they leave in the wake of their comings and goings.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the deadly influence of things as simple as our refuse carelessly tossed aside only to offer death to the first animal to find it: a duck with its neck wrapped in the plastic bindings from a six pack, a mink drowned by discarded fishing wire, a pelican throttled into endless sleep by the hook left in a dying fish, and a rabbit snared into easy prey by a bottle that caught its foot and wouldn’t let go.

Add to that the vehicular butchery our kind leaves in its shadow.  Who hasn’t driven along some roadway only to lurch in one direction or another as we try to avoid running over a bloody carcass left by those who came before?  Who of caring heart hasn’t shed a tear when passing the lifeless body of an existence crushed against or beneath our mechanical superiority?

So I ask: What of her and them?

2 thoughts on “What of her and them?”

  1. Could it be that animal services may have been called and the little family relocated to a safer environment?

    send out an APB to find the missing little ones 😉

  2. If she was critically injured or sick (e.g. rabies or distemper), that’s a distinct possibility, but they wouldn’t move them from the lake simply to move them. This is a wildlife refuge and they’re protected here and allowed to thrive.

    I’ll keep an eye out for the group this weekend and will head out early both mornings to see if I can spot them.

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