Living in the country is, in many ways, like food for the soul.
On a warm spring evening, the big moon casting a ghostly glow over the landscape, there’s nothing like the stirring, ethereal songs of coyote packs; their yips and howls, though sounding mournful, are actually broadcasting success of yet another meal scored.
Annoying though they may be if you keep sheep or chickens, their field foraging controls both the bunny and mouse populations. Better, particularly the latter, to have them in a coyote’s craw than in the house.
At night, with the windows and balcony door open, the myriad frogs that populate the ponds sing us to sleep, albeit for newcomers to the vicinity the constant spring-time croaking and chirping can be a little disconcerting. However, it is a sound you not only become accustomed to, but welcome when the weather finally warms after winter’s grip.
Those same ponds also attract wild ducks, their flashy breeding plumage a beautiful contrast to the green grass and yellow buttercups as they root about for bugs and seeds.
The ponds and frogs also attract another bird, the majestic great blue heron. Unfortunately, as they frequently fly from one favoured hunting site to another, they emulate the bombing runs reminiscent of Second World War newsreels.
Nothing like going out to your car on a Monday morning, already late for an appointment, to discover a line of processed frog, fish and other food arcing from the front wheel up across the driver’s door, the windows and roof to the other corner of the vehicle.
Such was the mess that even seeing out the window would have been difficult, calling for a high-pressure hosing down before entry, and later an explanation for how the day literally got off to a crappy start.
Short of parking under cover, there isn’t much one can do about it, though I did learn long ago not to park under a big willow tree when the starlings were flocking – a few hundred of them make a heron’s deposit look minor.
In a similar vein, I discovered that if you ever go to White Rock or other beach for a leisurely lunch, feed the vast gathering of seagulls that will surround you.
Scaring them off causes the flock to wheel above, raucously squawking while each bird does its best to out-defecate the other.
Not a pretty scene, particularly when you have to strip down to skivvies before entering the car to ensure the upholstery doesn’t take on a permanent fishy aroma.
However, in the grand scheme of things, experiencing a little avian excrement is trivial when others, through addictions or mental illness, live in squalor, when abject poverty causes the mind to forget or ignore the beauty that surrounds us.
Much as I’d like to say we can change that, the sad reality, like the coyotes’ song, means with success there is often a loss and that no matter how much we try, some lives will always fall through the cracks.