It was beautiful in Los Angeles today, and the park was packed. Runners, walkers, rollerbladers, bikers, dogs, babies, you name it. I set up my podcast and started out, prepared to enjoy a crowded but gorgeous run.
About 10 minutes in, two unexpected things happened at once: I found myself alone on a wooded stretch of the trail, and a coyote stepped out in front of me.
She stood there, right in the center of the path, with her glossy russet fur, golden eyes, and sleek muscles, and she looked at me.
I slowed down, thinking she would bolt back into the woods. She didn’t. I stopped five feet away from her. All I could see were her eyes and that glorious red-brown fur. We stared at each other. And stared. And stared.
Eventually, another jogger appeared on the path. She looked over her shoulder, saw him, then squeezed through the chain fence into the park’s golf course. But once she was safely inside, she stopped and turned back to me. We locked eyes again and watched each other for another long minute until the man ran reached us.
I pointed at her and the man gaped. He whispered “Coyote” as if it were a prayer. But by then she was off, loping across the manicured grass to a distant stand of trees. Her gaze had been for me. Only for me.
I don’t believe in fate, destiny, or signs from the universe, but this was a religious experience, one of only a handful I’ve experienced in my life.
And if I thought that coyote and I could share our thoughts, I’d say we were saying the same thing to each other: Well met, sister, and good hunting.