Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Coyote (book review)

I want to see them. I want to find their outlines when I scan the edges of the meadow. I want to know if I'm being watched while I work in the garden or mow the field. I want to know where they sleep and spend their days, where they go when the neighboring dogs race through or when November arrives after the leaves here have blown free and hunters slip into the newly naked woods.

So says Catherine Reid, author of Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in our Midst. Living in an old Massachusetts farmhouse, Reid has heard the howls of the coyotes, the adaptable, unstoppable hunters that live among humans. She wants to see one. Reid has tracked the history of the coyote back to when it first turned from the scrawny, sneaky animal in old Western cartoons to the elusive eastern creature that we often mistake for a wolf. She finds their tracks and scat in the woods near her house, hears them howling at night when we are asleep. She wonders, how is it that each hunting season, their numbers increase instead of decline? Is it extreme adaptability, or something else? Reid wants to dig deeper into the life of the coyote, to find out how it thrives among the humans who drove its larger cousin, the wolf, to near extinction. Reid takes you on an unforgettable journey into the lore and past of her home state on a quest to discover the secret behind this mysterious canid.

First of all, this wasn't only a book about wildlife. It was also a narrative about love and hate and family. It shows us how, as part of human nature, we want things to be totally predictable. We want to be in control, and we don't want to live among animals that reflect us in them, both the aspects we like about ourselves, and those we don't like so much. That was partly why we drove the wolf out. This was a great book about both people and animals, and I found it both enjoyable and educational.

This was my final book for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge.


Jeane said...

I'm adding this one to my TBR. May I suggest another title, Don Coyote by Dayton O Hyde. About a rancher who studies coyotes on his land and raised some in captivity. Very good.

Debi said...

Thank you for the recommendation!


The Dynamic Uno said...

Wow! You read some of the best books. Most of which I either just look at and think, someday...or else, I don't even bother picking up because I'm not sure if it will interest me.

Tag--you're it! Go to this posting, to see what you need to do next. Happy Posting!