Notes from the Waxhaws


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I was jolted awake…out of complacency… this mild morning as I set out to return my old car battery (which had died earlier in the week) to Walmart for recycling. Driving slowly down the road that I live on, I spied two Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) standing in the middle of the road up ahead. As I approached, they both reluctantly took flight and then perched above on nearby branches. I then spotted something to my left  in the ditch alongside the road…something that the vultures had been investigating. The warm and humid morning air was filled with the scent of death, and I found myself instinctively pinching my nose shut between thumb and forefinger. I stopped and looked out the open window at the somewhat bloated carcass of a rather large coyote (Canis latrans), on its back…its lips drawn back…revealing a set of fearsome-looking canine fangs that were, even in death, set in a ferocious snarl.

It’s uncertain how this particular coyote met its fate last night…perhaps, hit by a car travelling much too fast down this gravel-dirt road. I’ve often heard coyotes during the night…their baleful howling suddenly filling the still, night air. This dead coyote is the first one that I’ve seen, though, in almost four years of living in this tiny pocket of wildness that I call home. I often go walking down that same stretch of road, and it now gives me pause thinking there are still wild beasts of this nature roaming the woods that surround my house.

Written by Jim

June 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

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