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Ocean View Points

Traipsing Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove, clouds are threatening but so far their gray bellies haven’t done much but ooze a few tears and a little ozone. I’m prepared, though: long gray waterproof jacket – hood up, baggy Navy waterproof pants, white duct tape wrapped around my walking shoes and a white surgical mask on my face to keep it warm.

“Look! It’s Michael Jackson,” two passing cyclists shout.

Smart alecs! I’d break into a Moon Walk if I knew how to do it.

This is the beauty of aging: I don’t give a tinker’s damn what I look like or what anyone thinks of me on my nature walks.

Besides, I’m not the only eccentric on the trail. I just passed another mature woman who was walking her cat on a leash. Mind you, this doesn’t work the same as with a dog. Oh, no.

First, the cat climbs a small tree while the woman patiently waits for it to descend. After it disembarks, the feline kind of sashays along behind the woman until it finds something to sniff and veers left and right.

Let’s get something straight here and now: cats cooperate when they choose to. This does not make them evil and certainly not stupid. In fact, the more compliant a pet is, probably the lower its IQ and the higher its owner’s egoic need to control it.

Don’t believe me? I once attended an AMA convention (not medical but American Mule Association) where I learned that mules are only “stubborn” in the eyes of their controller. They simply don’t go along with the program if they don’t want to because they are so brainy.

So, those of you out there who rebel against the crowd, be proud. You may be smarter than you think . . .

Coyote Ugly

Oh, the wonders of biking along the 17-mile-drive in Pebble Beach . . . pelicans seem to lift magically from the waves and I peddle fast trying to keep up with their graceful arch in flight. My morning depression is streaming from behind me and vaporizing as nature commands me to stay present.

Then I see it several yards away on the beach: His golden eyes are no longer piercing, but he’s looking at me, warily.

This bedraggled coyote of the long ears and snout haunts Pebble Beach where other coyotes, buffed with fluffy tails, also compete for tender morsels: squirrels, moles, small birds. I first spotted him a year ago and couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d never seen a coyote in the area and thought it was a very sick, emaciated German Shepard. When I called the security guard he told me there were three or so in the area.

Anyway, a tourist has trained his binoculars on the beast and yells to a woman who is nonchalantly walking her unleashed toy poodle that wears a pink coat, “Watch out! There’s a coyote over there.”

I glance over again and he’s vanished. The coyote, not the purse candy . . .

Pelicans, the mewing of a baby otter who wants mama to know his location, the shrill call of black oystercatchers with mandarin bills . . . grazing deer with velvety antlers budding . . . squirrels that beg at the turnout to Bird Rock, where seals cavort in the water – their antics eminently recordable by tourists with cameras in hand . . . Living here might make you broke, but what a place to be broke.

As I exit, I notice the coyote has stretched out on the sand for a snooze, and in a different frame of mind, he’s beautiful . . .



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