“I took a break,” I said, by way of conversation.

Coyote was wearing his wire-rimmed glasses, which he always does when he is concentrating.

“I noticed,” Coyote replied, not looking up. “No judgment.”

“I had Stuff going on,” I said. I guess I was trying to get his attention.

“We all do,” Coyote shrugged. He reached into a drawer for a file folder.

“Meaning?” There was a belligerent note in my voice I didn’t even try to control.

“Hey,” Coyote said. He let the folder drop back into the drawer. “What season is this?”

“Winter,” I said sullenly. “And a long one.”

“I thought you liked winter.” He twisted around in his chair to face me and took off his glasses.

“I do!” I was pacing by this time, jumpy with nervous energy. “But it’s just getting to be a little much.”

He glanced out the window. Three juncos were playing under the feeder, trying to see who could find the most seeds the sparrows had dropped.

“Right. All that snow and …”

Clearly he didn’t understand. He was a coyote, after all.

“I’m getting really tired of Huffington Post!” I took a different tack.

Coyote said nothing. Wisely.

“They must think I’m an idiot. Someone (usually a Republican) says something ‘INSANE.’ Like that’s a substantive headline?”

“I see, and …”

“And there’s a story about something Elizabeth Warren said next to a story about a baby with two heads. Used to be two-headed babies were in the National Enquirer. Not mixed up with Real News.”

I was pacing around by this time, completely ignoring the path my ramblings were taking me on.

“So you think…”

“And Facebook! Over-sharing and the sky is falling and ‘like if you agree’ …”

“Hold up.” Coyote was seeing through me. I hate that. “What, exactly, are you doing?”

“I’m just … keeping up.” Even I could see I had fallen in a hole of my own digging.

“You’re getting annoyed because someone else is telling you how to feel and that’s ‘keeping up’?” He wasn’t bothering with patient listening any more.

“You keep checking Huffington Post and Facebook and wherever else you are going on your electronic rounds to see if there is another reason to be indignant and Right? And you’re telling me you “took a break” because you had ‘Stuff going on’??”


“Here,” he said, putting his glasses back on and handing me a little stand-up picture frame. “Look at this. Take as much time as you need.”


Hoi An, Viet Nam. Photo by Mark Smith.