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Photo by Billy Clouse on Unsplash   

This week
Last night as the sky was just starting to pink, I was walking through my neighborhood when I noticed a man standing still ahead of me on the sidewalk. His back to me. As I got closer, I could see he was holding his phone up, framing a photo of an unremarkable agave plant. I stepped around him without breaking stride.

And then I saw the coyote. It wore a heavy collar, and it glanced over its shoulder as it slinked across the street. So this was the subject of the man's photo. This little bit of info led me to develop a story about the man: I thought, he must be a recent transplant, probably from New York. It must be his first coyote. Or maybe his first daytime coyote. Or maybe just the first one he's seen in this no-filter-necessary golden light, in perfect juxtaposition to an agave.

Coyotes are never rare here, but in late summer they seem to be everywhere, crossing at stop signs in small packs and skulking alone through the hills. Even when you don't lay eyes on them, you know their presence by the proliferation of wrinkly posters on telephone poles with pleas about lost cats and chihuahuas. (I have come to think of these posters as sort of a retroactive menu.) Before a condo development went up on the hill across the street from my friend Sarah's house, packs of coyotes would gather there at night. The only way you could confirm their presence was by sweeping the hill with a powerful flashlight. The beam would reflect their eyes. 

At city council meetings and on the NextDoor app, coyotes are discussed as an invasive nuisance or threat, like a more dangerous pigeon or rat. But they pre-date condos and housecats and tracking collars. They pre-date guys in Supreme t-shirts wandering around with iPhones. They pre-date Joni Mitchell. They pre-date stucco and palm trees. They pre-date the Ohlone and the Chinook, the Maidu, the Pawnee, the Tohono O'odham, the Ute and the Navajo. They pre-date the Aztecs.

We modern humans are the nuisance. We're the threat. Not to dramatically overthink a three-second non-interaction with a coyote, but I'm thinking about all this today as we go on strike across the world to demand action on behalf of the things that were here before us.

Some odds and ends: On CYG, Amina interviews Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey about their reporting to expose Harvey Weinstein and the people who covered for him. You can listen to me on the Hey, Man podcast, talking about new friends and old jealousies. And I'm thrilled to announce that Big Friendship, which we are still revising, has a UK publisher

I'm reading
How Syrian immigrants saved a German village. A rodeo without borders. There are som appalling details in this story about a "morale" (uh, moral) crisis within the border patrol. Who would Tavi be without Instagram? Profiles of Janet MockConstance Wu, sculptor Beverly Pepper, and Pam Grier. Cameron Esposito on fighting for the right to be married and then recovering from divorce. Daniel Mallory Ortberg on trans masculinity, privilege, and Channing Tatum. Alison Turkos was assaulted by her Lyft driver, and the company let him continue to drive. So she's suing. How to keep teachers from leaving the profession. Wi-Fi almost didn't happen. The profitable afterlife of a-ha's "Take on Me" video. The Great Everywoman Outfit Contest of 1915. I think "spiritual consumerism" is a very useful term to know. I can't wait to someday attend an oyster-shucking competition

Members only
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I’m looking & listening
1619, the podcast. Hustlers brought me so much joy. Remembering civil rights leader Juanita Abernathy. Portraits of Ellis Island immigrants. Shin Noguchi's beautiful Japanese street photography. The read-aloud poems at Ours Poetica. The brilliant Kenesha Sneed on the Black Girl in Om podcast. Bill Callahan covers some Silver Jews songs.


I endorse
The Global Climate Strike that's happening RIGHT NOW.
Click to find a strike location near you. In some time zones, it's not too late drop what you're doing and join. Do it for your future self: You'll probably regret not showing up.

By the time you read next week's newsletter, I'll be on the road with CYG! Come see us. There are still tickets available in the following cities:

Fri, Sept 27 - Toronto, ON
Sat, Sept 28 - Detroit, MI
Thu, Oct 3 - Denver, CO

** And we just added a DC date!
Sat, Oct 26 - Washington, DC [Bentzen Ball]

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"Last night I laid in bed hoping I will sleep more than five hours
Or four hours
Or maybe more than three
When I woke up at 3:42am, my eyes opening wide through the cloud of melatonin
My brain still replaying every second of that breakup conversation
I opened your newsletter and methodically read all of the articles from last Friday, and then all of the ones I missed before that" - Grace, who recently went through a breakup and is clearly a poet.

This newsletter is trying to be less of a nuisance, less of a threat.
Forward it someone who was here before you.

Ann Friedman

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