I took the camera to the park yesterday to take pictures of the salmon that should be running. There were none. This time last year Pipers Creek was one flashing heave-of-silver fish highway and coveys of schoolchildren were hooting and cawing and pointing and grinning.
Two big groups of schoolchildren were there, anyway. All wearing brightly coloured puffy coats. (It was cold yesterday–wintry for the first time.) Most of them were disturbingly fat. Not pleasantly round, not a little chubby: fat.
While I was pondering this I saw a Coyote Warning notice. These go up all over the neighbourhood when the coyotes run in bold packs during the day as well as night. I’ve heard them at all hours, yipping and yelping–though the highest yips are gone now that the summer-born pups are growing up–and even when I don’t hear them, I know they’re there: the neighbourhood dogs, shut up in the house while their owners are working, bark like beserkers. And cats have become very thin on the ground. (Coyotes favourite food = cats, feral and domestic. Seriously. Lots of feral cats live in the ravine and park. They eat the squirrels and chipmunks and deermice and moles that live on the nuts that grow from the seeds in the fertile dirt.)
So there were these notices, and there were these fat (rather despondent: no salmon!) children, and I thought that, to a coyote, they must look rather like the brightly coloured snacks lined up by the cash register at convenience stores. Impulse grabs. Juicy morsels. Given the fact that dead salmon support the local ecology (enrich soil –> seeds grow –> rodents eat –> cats eat), or would if there were any, coyotes are going to be very, very hungry this winter.
I feel a short story coming on…