In mitigation of the discomfort engendered by the dual attributes of advanced age and a painful back, we spend a considerable portion of the day in the intimate embrace of a large, adjustable, leather chair. Our country home, situated at the edge of a large woodland, in Kingston, New York, is benefited by a great room, [or,” living room”], with a high, vaulted ceiling, big clerestory windows and rooms with see-through, framed glass walls. As a consequence, the indoor impression is one of being outdoors, amidst the trees and greenery. Much of the time thus spent in such comfortable venue, reading, watching movies or television news, is punctuated by appreciative glances through the nearby large picture windows, at an uninterrupted outdoor ambiance of alternatively, verdant or snowy, woodland; and most excitedly, at the appearance of woodland animals, including, deer, wild turkey, birds, squirrels, woodchucks and several others.
We saw him, the other day, upon routinely looking up from our reading. He appeared to be a beautiful example of the coyote species, with lush gray and black winter-coated fur, solitarily, padding, along the snowy ground. To our astonishment, [perhaps, our imagination] the beautiful animal appeared to look back at our window. We understand that It is not common, in this geographic location, to actually see this animal [a rather recent, territorial immigrant, from America’s Southwest] and, conceivably, just as uncommon, to see him ambling about singly, without an accompanying pack. It was, to our, [admittedly, creative] perception, as if he were paying us a brief personal visit. Our somewhat bizarre, perception of the event, admittedly, was no less than surreal; but that bizarre reaction warrants some empirical and rational explanation; and we would humbly request, of the reader, a bit of patience.
The sudden, surprising appearance of this recently transplanted animal, as indicated, seemed to evoke, in us, a surreal and autobiographical moment. It is to be noted, as previously written, that our family, its life, perceptions, and environment has, over the years, likewise, been significantly reconfigured and uprooted in venue, in previously unforeseen and truly substantive manner. It was, subjectively, as if this transitory coyote was our personal, symbolic biographer.
Regular followers of this blogspace are aware that we have previously offered a series of essays on the subject of our childhood lives, as first-generation Americans, living in the nuanced ambiance of newly arrived, Ashkenazi-Jewish Immigrants in 1940’s Brooklyn. We briefly described the large and aging, brick apartment residences, the exotic olfactory mélange of Old World cooking aromas, the electric- sparking, trolley cars banging along on iron, street-level tracks, the remaining horse-drawn carts of, fruit vendors, old clothing [junk] collectors, knife and scissor sharpeners, the coal barrel deliveries through steep chutes, running down from the street level windows to the building cellars, and of the streets and back alleys, the mucho- macho ice delivery men, the diverse pushcarts, ethnic food stores, and the poor and antiquated synagogues.
Primarily, however, we sought to create a visible cameo of the displaced, newly arrived, Russian immigrant, his recent escape from a life of violent anti-Semitic pogroms and personal privation, and his aspirations for a future American family; such thoughts, obsessively, spiced with the ruminative recollection of his past, nightmarish life, in the dark, cold and personally vulnerable “Old Country.” His was a mandatory and existential, migratory life change to an exotic new territory and life. We also attempted to colorfully, but respectfully, allude to his dedicated, dignified, but often frustratingly, comedic efforts, to “Americanize,” with especial reference to the new presenting language, but also, the alien ambiance, pace and folkways, of the “New World,” of the extant, Brooklyn, New York.
We venerate and extoll the adaptive genius of the beautiful coyote, as symbolizing and paying tribute to the human immigrants of goodwill, who, like our parents and other America’s immigrants, made, and those who aspire to make, a new and better life in this land.