Look Mom! It's a COYOTE!

Look Mom!  It’s a COYOTE!

Oh dear!  Protecting my children from any harm is my number one priority in life.  Everything spells DANGER!  From butter knives, to outlets, to hiking, I neurotically recognize danger in every place and everything. 

Taking my daughter on a mild, easy nature hike one beautiful sunny spring day, we lucked out and saw much wildlife.  The hike itself is fairly easy and short.  The pacing is good.  Taking our time to enjoy the outdoor scenery, it takes us about two hours to hike a mile.  Up steep ravines and down through grassy valleys we make our way through a well defined hiking path.  Coming down the ravine, we paused to determine the source of rustling in the bushes.  There they were.  A doe and her fawn following closely behind, the silence of quiet whispers unperturbed them.  I expected the deer to startle and skitter off when they saw us, but they continued grazing on the long grasses as they meandered through the hillside.  Blocking our view, were several low scraggly branches from which behind we could hear more rustling. 

My daughter was about five feet in front of me on the walking path when she turned to face me and whispered as loudly as she could, “Mom! It’s a COYOTE!”  I stayed calm as my heart pounded in my chest.  Trying to think logically, it didn’t make any sense.  If there were a coyote, or any other predatory animal the deer would not continue grazing casually.  My daughter ventured further away from me to get a better view.  Her steps long and deliberate, she looked like a cartoon character stepping over puddles.  I thought, “What if there really is a coyote?”  What am I going to do?  All those survival tips from T.V. shows started to race through my brain.  There’s the effective screaming and waving.  Picking up a large object to use to defend my child and myself.  Definitely do NOT, under any circumstances, try to run.  That’s only for bears.  Definitely run if there is a bear – or alligator.  It’s a scientific fact that humans can outrun alligators on land.  But damn, you gotta be running for your life!

With all of this commotion in my brain, I tiptoed ever closer to where my daughter was.  Once I was within arms’ reach of her, I could see around the brush.  I could see what she was seeing.  With a smirk on her face, she stood still as a statue.  Watching, waiting, patiently as I realized that’s no coyote.  That’s a frickin’ deer!  Oh, these kids!