By Leona Thomas
Sedona, Arizona 2008
The red rocks of Sedona are always calling to my soul but one day, as I walked from my friend's house, I heard a spirit voice announce, "There's someone waiting to meet you!"
I looked at the wall up ahead and wondered if something was lurking on the other side, a snake perhaps...
But no, I passed the wall without incident and continued towards the red rocks. I wondered if I had been mistaken.
But then a woman sprinted out of the parking lot and stopped in front of me. Her face was bright red and she was struggling to breathe. Although she was dressed for running she was clearly out of condition!
"My husband's in there!" She gasped and then she added, "My doctor says I'm not allowed to run!"
I began questioning her and discovered that they had been startled by a noise from the undergrowth and had assumed it was just a rabbit.
But it turned out to be an adult coyote.
She had managed to escape with her life but her husband was still back there somewhere and she was very worried for his safety.
I told her to never run away from an animal with 4 legs. They are always faster than us.
Then we watched as her husband casually strolled out of the car park and crossed over to where we were standing. He was unharmed and unhurried although presumably he had permission to run anywhere he liked!
The woman was very worried when I told her I was still going to go across to the red rocks. She grabbed my arm and said, "I hope we don't read about you in the newspaper tomorrow..."
I waved goodbye and began walking up the access road into the national park. There was nothing unusual happening.
Until suddenly a full grown adult coyote stepped out of the bushes on the left side of the service road and began to saunter across the road less than 10 metres ahead of me.
I was surprised and so excited that I forgot to stop walking!
I continued my steady pace forward.
When the coyote made it to the middle of the road he stopped and slowly turned his head to look at me. He remained in that position as I continued to close in on him... finally he moved his head to face forward again and continued walking slowly to the other side of the road and disappeared amongst the rocks and bushes.
"Oh my God! I just saw a wild coyote!" I spoke excitedly to myself.
Then, to my absolute amazement, I had a full deja vu moment as a second adult coyote stepped out from the shrubs at the left side of the road. By this time I was about 5 metres away and still walking forwards.
This second coyote sauntered across the road, stopped in the middle and turned its head slowly and just stood there watching me. I was getting very close now. I was just a few metres away and I began to feel a prickle of fear. But it didn't occur to me to stop walking!
Again, the second coyote eventually tired of watching me and turned his head again so he could see where he was going. He sauntered across the rest of the road and followed his friend into the bushes.
I didn't know if I should be scared of coyotes because we don't have them in England and they looked so strange that they reminded me of the characters Thingmy 1 and Thingmy 2 from the Cat In The Hat books! I have no idea why I didn't just stop walking and stay a safe distance away.
But I do believe that they came to meet me. I mean, one might have been a coincidence but two of them? Both behaving like that?!
The bigger question was:
"Why on earth did they want to meet me???"
I hope running lady wasn't disappointed to find no mention of me in her newspaper the next day.
It's a shame really... being eaten alive by a wild animal is quite commonplace but being casually inspected at close quarters by two wild animals, the second living out a full action replay of the first... Now that would have been an interesting news story!