nonnative species

Three coyotes crossed the road—at a full sprint down the railroad tracks, through the industrial park, at 7:20 a.m. Right in front of my car.

They looked healthy. Full coats. Loping gait. Tongues lolling. Another coyote or two appeared to be running ahead of them. A pack of coyotes deep in suburban sprawl? Were they out of place or was I?

It’s a dissonance I feel more and more often:

. . . A hummingbird resting on a chain-link fence. The diamond opening looming large around the tiny body.

. . . A mockingbird singing a spot-on version of a car alarm before transitioning into the warning beep of a truck in reverse.

. . . A Gerbera daisy sticking its solitary red head out of the drought-hardened ground—not a leaf around it—unconcerned with the critical photosynthetic property of leaves.

. . . An amaryllis trumpeting its arrival to the neighborhood.

. . . Six parrots flying overhead in bright green, squawking pairs.

Nature surviving in the middle of cookie-cutter city startles me. I assume the flora and fauna is out of place, but maybe it’s me.

Like the red-crowned parrots I’ve adapted well to an environment I was never meant to live in permanently, but no amount of time and familiarity will make me a native. I am a temporary resident.

The only home I’ve ever known will not be my forever home. A day is coming when fences and freeways and power poles and police sirens will be no more. The lion and the lamb will rest together; the coyote will cross the street . . . and neither occurrence will be out of place.


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