News from around the old homestead:  Two coyotes and one mountain lion so far this week.  We’ve had some up-close-and-personal wildlife sightings this week.  All of them, oddly, have been in our driveway, which is kind of long and has woods on either side.  I think this is happening for a few reasons: First, this drought.  I can’t think of an adjective to describe how I feel about the drought; I hate it.  I’m scared of it, too, because wildfire season is here.  It’s been so dry for so long.  This is the time of year, up here in Arizona’s high country, that we should be seeing the creek beds running with melted snow.  But Flagstaff, to the north of us, didn’t get a flake of snow all January.  In Prescott, we didn’t get a drop of rain.  Since then, we have gotten a couple of events that can only be called “drizzling.”  Back East, we wouldn’t even have noticed.  But out here, we’re so grateful for anything that can be defined as “moisture,” any rain is a big deal.

Anyway, a few days ago I saw two coyotes.  One of them was smallish and full of attitude, looked right at me with contempt.  “No craps were given,” as our son, Andy, says.  The second was a lot bigger and just trotted past, no eye contact, headed for Willow Creek, which runs behind our house.  Our creek actually has some water, unlike many around here.  So that’s the second thing:  We have water in our back yard, which means we have birds, and bunnies, and javelina, and bobcats, and lynx, and deer, and rattlesnakes, and coyotes, etc.  Most of these animals fall into the “prey” category, so we might as well have a neon sign hanging up there, flashing “Good Eats!”  We also have dogs, which I don’t think of as menu items, but I’m afraid other species might.  Yesterday, I got home from taking Josh to school.  I was in the garage, and I let Molly, our Lab, out of the car, and went to let out Rusty, our Cocker Spaniel.  Molly was just standing there, facing me, and behind her, I saw a mountain lion crossing our driveway.  It seemed to have spots, so maybe it was a young ‘un.  It was Molly’s height, and longer than she is, but not as long as mountain lions get, which apparently is 7 feet for females, 8 feet for males (I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on mountain lions lately).  Like the coyote, it looked right at me — no attitude, just an acknowledgment, “yeah, I see you.”  Then it went on into the woods.   Thank God Molly didn’t see it, or she would have chased it, and that probably would not have ended well.

One mountain lion sighting, and I have become like Bill Murray with the gopher in “Caddyshack.”  I am obsessed.  “Who is the gopher’s ally, his friend?”   First thing this morning, in my jammies, I climbed up on our garden wall and secured the perimeter.  For the last 24 hours, I have haunted the deck, which overlooks the creek, scanning the terrain for any signs of movement.  I imagine tawny eyes staring at me, hidden behind brush, that bastard waiting to catch our innocent, sweet dogs unattended.  It creeps me out.

And then there’s my little azalea.  That’s the plant in the picture.  I bought it around Valentine’s Day.  It was gorgeous, with pink blossoms, and I had Spring fever so bad, I just wanted to get my garden going.  So I put it in a planter on the deck, and it promptly made every effort to kick the bucket.  It got down to three green leaves.  The rest was totally brown and dead.  I changed the soil, fed it, kept watering, and said prayers.  It looked like “The Last Leaf,” the O. Henry short story.  Clearly, a goner.   How could any plant come back from this?  But today, look what I saw — little leaves!  It is coming back!   So there’s life in them leaves, and there’s life in that creek, and where there’s life, there’s hope, and maybe we’ll get some rain someday soon.


This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.