Driving back from California through the desert, one is always cognizant of the hungry world that surrounds you. The desert may seem still, but beyond what you can see it is teeming with life . . . coyotes, owls, hawks, vultures and some genuinely scary-ass reptiles, thick western diamondbacks, prairie rattlers, gila monsters and sidewinders.
There are small boars called javelinas; ugly little fuckers who love-you-not. There are roadrunners who tear along the desert until they find a lizard to peck to death and devour. They are psycho-looking sons-of-bitches who remind us that for all of the cute photos of baby seals and shit like that, that nature is around-the-clock murder.
There are prairie dogs who all of the predators rely on for food. They are reliable because they are dumb motherfuckers with a brain the size of a marble and just about as sharp. They are forever getting picked off by everything that flies, walks or crawls. They’re like a more stupid version of rabbits, without the dork-ears.
There are packs of dogs everywhere. Dogs domesticate easier than any other animal; they also go feral faster than any other animal. Die on “Fido” and see what his ass is eating three days later.
Months ago I made some scarecrows and I’ve missed making them. In many Native American stories, wolves and coyotes are tricksters invested with a ferocious spiritual presence. This piece is called, “The Dog of Winter.”