Sunday, March 14, 2010
Picture: the calm before the storm. Weather on Cape Cod now: 6 inches of rain in the past 24 hours, 40 mph winds, 40 degrees F.
And so, my lovelies, I've been sent back to Cape Cod, through a myriad of circumstances that could never have been predicted. But if life was predictable, it would not be life. It would be some pre-programed script. I'll take life.
In the meantime, I am living with one foot in Montana and one foot in Massachusetts, and I'll tell you, this is a pretty wide country. You've heard of left brain, right brain. You've heard of rural vs. urban. You've heard of north vs. south. The differences between Montana and Massachusetts (Cape Cod, specifically) are many, but they are not polar opposites. The culture of the two states is just very, very different.
For Example: You will never find the head of an elk mounted in a supermarket on Cape Cod, or the head of anything mounted. You will simply find the slabs of beef perfectly cut and cello-wrapped in the meat case with nary the head of a cow nearby to connect you to the fact that you will soon be eating a creature. The disconnect allows for all kinds of mis-perceptions.
You won't find anyone on my street in Montana who has outside garbage barrels. No, that would attract the bears. Garbage has to be dropped off at the municipal trash bins almost daily, like you drop off the mail. Otherwise, you'll be cited for attracting and feeding the bears, which creates a dangerous animal, which results (usually) in the death of the bear by Wildlife Control.
When walking in the woods on Cape Cod, there is no need to carry a weapon (read gun or bear spray) as defense against mountain lions or bears (but if you've been tuned in, the coyotes are getting pretty brazen). I won't walk down the Cape Cod bike trail without a big stick now. It looks like a walking cane to you, but it feels like a security stick to me.
Reality is the name of the game in Montana. We could do with a good dose of it here on Cape Cod. Recently a woman in Brewster had to beat off a coyote who attacked her leashed 40 pound dog while on a walk. When are the official warnings going to go out to the new mothers of small children that it is dangerous in the back yards this time of year when the coyotes are desperately hungry? No mention. In fact, Peter Trull, the anointed coyote expert on Cape Cod, was recently quoted in the Cape Codder as saying he had never heard of a coyote attacking a dog on a leash. Where's he been? It's been happening. I know of several people whose dogs were taken by coyotes, both on and off leash. One contractor friend of mine had to go out in a marsh and rescue his Labrador retriever. .. it was being stalked by three coyotes one sunny afternoon, and they were going after the back legs. He rescued his dog just in time. He was able to chase away the coyotes.
Cape Cod: It was only a few years ago that a small child on a back yard swing was attacked, and the father had to beat off the coyote with a two by four board. That was a highly publicized incident that was highlighted on television news. But television news comes and then goes. Where is the general public awareness? What public official on Cape Cod will dare to say openly: coyotes are dangerous. Hey, in Montana, everyone knows that even deer are dangerous. Beyond jumping in front of your car or truck on the highway, they will also gore you during mating season, or just because they are being protective of their territory.
A well know rising star folk singer was recently killed in Canada (Nova Scotia) by two hungry coyotes on a heavily frequented National Park walking trail. She was young and healthy. It was a "rare" attack. But, it happens. http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/10/29/canada.singer.killed/index.html
And so, as I sit here in this blow of a Nor'easter that's been shaking the house and drenching the yard, I watch the German shepherd sized coyote trot over the front lawn, sniffing the rabbit trail that leads (yes, it does) to the brier patch in front of the house. I know what it can do. But, do you? Do you keep your toddlers safe? Do you let your cats out? Do you let your dogs out without you? We are not just living with wild animals in our backyards, we are living with predators in our backyards. Predator: must kill to eat. Reality. Attention must be paid.