Yesterday I was in the hills heading for my mushroom patch and a very large coyote crossed the fire road about 200 feet from me. He was as big as a wolf, with a bushy tail. He trotted along, glancing back at me every so often. About an hour later, just after the sun had set, I was coming back down the hill and I heard this amazing woo–ooo-ooo. It stopped me in my tracks. I’ve heard coyotes singing before but never this close. There were two voices, and let me tell you, this was singing. Yip-yip-yip, woo-ooo-ooo, ah-woooo — words can’t describe this sound, the musicality of it. It made my hair stand on end. Electrifying. I stood still and listened, thrilled. After a minute, I heard, from maybe a mile across the valley, a faint reply, woo-ah-woo-woo. As I went along, I saw them, two of them, and they were 2-300 yards away. As soon as they saw me they stopped singing.
Three books of note: Landsman, by Peter Charles Mellman, a novel that reminds me of All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Powerful writing, a first novel; Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources, by M. Kat Anderson, a meticulously researched and documented book about mostly unknown land management practices of the California Indians; and Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) by David Cay Johnston, about which Ralph Nader says: “With clarity, conciseness, and cool, fact-saturated analysis, Mr. Johnston, the premier investigative reporter on how industry and commerce shift risks and costs to taxpayers, sends the ultimate message to all Americans—either we demand to have a say or we will continue to pay, pay, and pay.” Eye-opening is the way Walmart (and Cabela’s) get huge subsidies from communities that want their big box stores, even keeping the sales taxes they collect. They’re unfairly (and criminally) subsidizing the cutthroat big guys and running the littler guys out of business.
HBO’s The Wire, about drug dealers, murders, and cops in Baltimore, is back on and as good as ever. Every actor is strong and believable. Musician Steve Earle sings Tom Waits’ song “Down in the Hole” in this season’s series and has a role as the leader of a 12-step drug program.
And that’s it for this early Monday morning as the Bay Area dries out after a killer storm. We were without power for 6 days, and running a publishing operation without electricity these days is difficult to say the least.