Thursday, April 1, 2010

The lone coyote

I was sitting in my car at the marina the other night.  I had gone down there after my 8 PM meeting ended and the ice cream social time was over.  I sat in my car for a while and looked out at the harbor with all the lights.  There is always some cargo ship coming or going to the port.  These behemoths fascinate me.  I day dream quite a bit about where they have been and where they might be going. 

Sometimes, but not too often, two ships will pass each other.  But mostly there is a single shape outlined by lights moving silently toward its destination.  And so it happened that I was looking at the outline of a ship passing when I saw her.  She was air scenting and wary, moving cautiously towards my car.  She was in good shape, not thin or starved looking but soft and healthy.  With every tentative foot fall, she crept closer.

Finally, she stopped about 10 feet from the car.  I could see her eyes and her nose quivering.  Her fur was grey and clean.  At first, I thought that she could be a dog but quickly realized that I was looking at an animal which I have only seen on my island recently.  This lone coyote had made it to a marina resort and was standing in the glow of lights from the city.  I think that I quit breathing for a few minutes.  I knew that any motion would make her run off.  I felt a sense of wonder, tinged with sadness and dread.

I wondered whether she had pups or whether she was just a lone coyote hoping to find some scraps of food or to dig through the trash barrels at the marina.  I wondered where her mate was.  I wondered how long before she would be hunted and perhaps killed or trapped.

I have not been in a good place today.  I have been thinking about the single ship traveling on a voyage, the lone coyote in the parking lot at the marina, and my own tendency to go it alone, suffering in silence.  I found out yesterday that there will be a retirement party for a group of us who are leaving service.  I immediately felt a stab of fear and sadness.  I wondered whether I wanted to go at all.  Last night I asked C. if she would go with me to the party. She said that she didn't want to go because she didn't want to see "those" people. Funny, I knew the answer before I asked her.  There are people here who C. has a resentment toward. C. left without any kind of party because she simply didn't want to have anything done for her.  She is a lot like the lone coyote too, moving tentatively and with every intent of flight when things become too uncomfortable. 

I don't want to go to this party alone.  And I immediately began to think how others would have their family members there, and I would be alone. I could feel the self-pity rising inside, and I became that little kid who was left out.

So I asked C. again this morning, and she again said that she didn't feel comfortable going. I am turning that over to my Higher Power. But I am also taking some action. I've asked my sponsor and another good friend to go.  And perhaps I'll ask a few others to go as well, such as old colleagues who have also retired. I don't want to be the lone coyote.  I want to go and say farewell without any resentment.  I don't want to have expectations of how it will be but just be accepting of what is. 


  1. Good for you to think about it and come up with a solution that would work fine. You could opt for no retirement party or you could go and maybe have good memories of the last time with your colleagues.

  2. I bet that was an amazing sight to see. I wish you the best as you retire as well as acceptance and peace about the retirement party. Thanks for your blog. It is the first recovery blog I had ever read and I have been helped often by your wise and insightful words.

  3. The poor coyote. The thought depresses me, too.

    I also love watching cargo ships. I could sit on River Street in Savannah and watch them all evening. I often wave at the crews gathered on the decks. Sometimes they wave back, and it makes me happy.

    Okay, okay, I'll be your date for the retirement shindig. I could tell you were hinting.

  4. Hang in there, Syd. I had a lot to say on acceptance today, too. It is a magical word! Many blessings,

  5. Lone wolf. Lone coyote. The ship in the night. They all work (and, don't work) for me.

    Good images. Good thoughts.

    Blessings and aloha...

  6. Coyotes mate for life, so I hope this one was just out looking around and not truly "alone".

    You may be really mad at me for saying this, but you wrote about it so I will go out on a limb and share what came to my mind when I read that C. doesn't want to go to the party:

    This party is a one time event...the LAST party you will every attend with these people. A party for YOU. She is saying she won't go because she's not comfortable around those people, but what about you? Doesn't it matter how you feel? Can't she consider giving up one night to discomfort to stand by her man at his retirement party? Maybe I am being harsh. Maybe I am losing a blog friend by leaving this comment. But that's how I see it.

  7. Sorry C. doesn't want to go to your party. But good for you for coming up with Plan B. My sponsor always said to have a plan b, helps with the pity party....

  8. It sounds like you have found a good solution to your predicament.

    I completely understand. There are times when experiences coalesce creating that feeling of total isolation. It is a terrible feeling filled with the desolation of abandonment.

    I know your turning it over and taking positive action will pay off in the end and all will be well.


  9. I feel the heaviness of your thoughts, Syd. I am interested to see how this one works out for you. Please let us know.

  10. I am glad you are finding a way to make this work for you.

  11. I like the idea of taking old colleagues Syd, that sounds like a good way forward. I am a loner, and yes the price is high. I know that I miss out on stuff and that it also brings pain, but sometimes it is all I want. The lonliness.

  12. There is always a positive spin to everything. The wolf had "freedom" at the moment you saw it!

    You have the "freedom" to go to a party and have fun!

  13. Your coyote reminds me of the near-extinct wild dogs of Africa.

    Perhaps C is still battling resentment, perhaps she has just moved in in her own way. But I understand the expectations of a loved partner and the pain of having those hopes thwarted.

    It may not be the easiest of workplaces and that is hard for you too. But you can only prepare as wisely and thoughtfully as possible and then deal with what happens at the time, as it happens.

    I tried very hard to leave my workplace gracefully but they were too angry at my leaving to respond. I felt very hurt and almost bereft at the time, but that was how it was.

  14. When my husband chooses not to attend events with me, I had to accept it. He shows me in a hundred other ways that he loves me so I let this one go. It is as big a deal as I make it. I hope you go, enjoy the attention you've earned, get to say the things you need to say to these people, and appreciate that no one will be able to fill your shoes when you leave...but that is okay!


  15. You are really going to enjoy your party. It gives you closure. Imagine, it's the start of your new beginning! Have a great weekend.

  16. Ships and coyotes wow- nice link! How we can color things with feelings, memories, choices.
    I too have a fondness for barges, ships and tugs- from a childhood full of many hours watching them in all weather conditions; on the East River in New York.
    And coyotes in many places and
    different states of health from robust and huge, to mangy- and even dead. 'Tis life and death. Trusting life and process- acceptance can be tough or less
    so depending on our resistance at the time. Nice blog, thanks!

  17. I like your "Plan B." This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I wanted the other person to do what I wanted, and accepting that it was their right not to do so, well, I had to work on that one.
    Great post.

  18. I am glad you decided to go with friends.

  19. I am glad you are going with your sponsor and friend>


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