The Daily Coyote = 32 down, 68 to go

27 Apr

Other nonfiction
The Daily Coyote
Shreve Stockton
287 pages

Girl drives her Vespa across country, falls in love with Wyoming along the way, gives up plan to move to NYC and relocates her life to Ten Sleep, Wy., a small town of 300 and about an hour from the nearest grocery store.

Then girl meets a nice guy who brings her a 10-day-old coyote. Girl falls in love with said coyote (and maybe the guy) and so begins author/photographer Shreve Stockton’s adventure with a coyote pup named Charlie.

There were a number of things in this book that resonate with me, starting with the opening sentence:

The jewels in this life are the events we do not plan…

That is perfectly simple insightful statement.

There are many areas of the West that I love, including Wyoming, and within the book’s first three pages, the author captures the beauty of the state and its landscape succinctly:

…magnetized to the land, to the red dirt and the Bighorn Mountains and the wide-openness I had no idea still existed in this country. The landscape around the Bighorns is like an ocean on pause, rolling with the subtle colors of rust and sage and gold, stretching to every horizon. These mountains are unlike other mountain ranges. While the Tetons are fangs of stone and Rainier is an ice cream sundae, the Bighorns are sloped and subtle, built of some of the oldest exposed rock in the world; rock that has existed, in its current form, for over three billion years. There is exquisite power in their permanence.

But I guess it would be helpful to get past the first chapter…onto the soul of this book, Charlie, the coyote pup that comes into the author’s life after his parents are shot for killing sheep. This is just the beginning of the book’s juxtaposition of the passion and love for an individual wild animal against the reality of wildlife management in the west. It pits an animal lover against the realities of living in areas of the West, which includes the government-supported elimination of many coyotes that are viewed as threats to livestock and the ranching way of life.

But outside all that seriousness, Stockton pulls back the curtain and shows us the fun and antics, as well as trials and tribulations of balancing the responsibility of raising while not fully domesticating a coyote pup into beautiful adult. Every chapter is a new month and a new adventure in Charlie’s development and growth.

This was a wonderfully refreshing book and very appropriately subtitled “A story of love, survival and trust in the wilds of Wyoming.”

If you’d like to follow Charlie’s journey, Shreve Stockton maintains a blog, which was the origination for the name of the book, The Daily Coyote — where she posts regular photos. You can also subscribe to receive a new photo of Charlie every day or week.

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