I’m taking + Acumen presents Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity workshop through Udemy. The course supports +Acumen. Acumen is a non-profit venture fund with a vision to help build a world beyond poverty through investing in companies that deliver critical goods and services in water, health, housing, energy, agriculture, and education; leaders who are paving the way for new approaches to fighting poverty; and the spread of ideas that will give the world the knowledge and the understanding to change how the world tackles poverty.
One of the creativity prompts is:
What was the last thing you really wondered about?
Here is my answer:
The last thing I wondered about was what is the difference between a coyote, a hyena, and a jackal. I wanted to see the differences among them, visually. In my mind, I was pretty clear about how they looked, although after I googled them, I realized that a hyena’s ears are much rounder than I recalled from seeing them on nature shows. I remember thinking that hyenas are very odd looking creatures and I wondered why God made them so odd looking. What is the purpose of their appearance, evolutionarily speaking? This leads me at this moment to wonder about giraffes and rhinos and hippos. What is the evolutionary purpose of their appearance? For example, I can see that a whale and a dolphin, their appearances have much to do with their being water animals. They are sleek looking and their bodies seem aerodynamically suited to the watery environment.
If I stretch that thinking to hyenas, I might get a sense that their coloring is almost like camouflage. Jackals, I suppose, could be seen in a similar way.
This curiosity emerged from seeing a coyote in a show that I was watching. It recalled to me that I had seen coyotes on several occasions when I lived in Charlotte. I heard them as well. Since I’ve moved to Bristol, I have heard coyotes once but not seen any. The coyote is about the size of a German Shepard. Yet when I looked them up, their statistics seemed to suggest that they are smaller. I am sure that the coyotes I saw were larger than 50 pounds, which is the upper limit stated as their weight.
Like dogs, coyotes have that wondering, longing and welcoming look about them. I’m not sure why it is, but I consider them canines in the friendlier vernacular of that term. I like dogs and am not usually terrified of them, though skittish around them until I get to know them.
I know nothing about coyotes except that they are wild so I assume they are feral and mean. It is a paradox that they look so much like dogs that I feel they are friendlier than they probably are. I would not feel the same about a hyena or a jackal because they don’t look like domesticated dogs.
I met a woman who has a coyote as a pet. She used to have a wolf also but it has since died. She talked about the coyote with love and about its habits that are endearing to her – nesting i.e., tearing up her bed or other furnishings, for example. We didn’t talk about the wolf, though I got a sense that the coyote and wolf got along.
I do not want a coyote for a pet. I would probably want a wolf if I thought I could control it.
As I re-read this, I begin to wonder if a coyote, a hyena, and a jackal could get along with each other. Is this the beginning of a story? Under what circumstances would these three animals be in the same place and not fighting each other?