Since the pandemic, the backyard has become our theater. Now playing: swallows, dapper phoebes, scrub jays, crows, ravens, and for the double encore, Coopers Hawk followed by Anna's Hummingbird. Occasionally, we'll spot a misguided seagull flying away from the ocean. It's not that birds are a substitute for crowds, family or friends. But there is something reassuring in how they rise with the sun, and go about their daily routines as the rest of us navigate forced distances. Yesterday, in quick succession, we identified a canyon wren and as it flew from its perch two monarch butterflies filled the space. So beautiful, it was almost ridiculous. Two months or so after we relocated from Arizona, I was up with the crows. Coffee was brewing and while waiting, I found myself staring at the point where our yard meets Conejo Canyon. There was a thick strip of coastal fog beginning to lift.
Just as I was about to get on with it, a coyote approached the iron fence. I think I gasped. My family was sleeping and I recall wishing someone had been awake to see this moment--simultaneously wild and domestic. That feeling quickly passed and I began to treasure that the moment was mine. The coyote and I stared at one another for a full minute at least. Fog began to dissipate and he slowly turned to continue his journey, taking the stillness in our connection with him. I wondered what I might miss after I left for work. Now I'm beginning to know.