Last night I was so weary after a day of teaching and panel-participating that I ducked out of the evening reading here after the first reader was done: i'd like to have heard my two other colleagues read but I just couldn't attend to another thing. So I started walking up the hill to our room by myself in the dark, and just as my mountain lion fantasy began to assert itself, there in the darkness by the path was a jackrabbit, sitting up, elegantly lunar long ears alert. She was just sitting, and didn't budge till I walked over toward her and she scurried ahead a little. Then I realized why she wasn't darting away: a baby about the size of my hand was wandering around on the pine needles by my feet. This seemed a possible message from the night: you will not be eaten by a mountain lion, Mark, at least not tonight, but you might get to say hello to a mama jackrabbit.
And then tonight, after Terrance Hayes, John D'Agata and I read, Paul and I came walking back and took a different, higher path, so dark that we had to trust the gravel under our shoes to tell us we hadn't wandered astray, and over and behind the sound of some writers talking on the path below, we heard this high pitched concatenation of -- sirens? emergency vehicles? the whoops of cop cars when they want you to move over? Of course -- coyotes, in a grand yipping conclave, a wild-toned Bacchante pack. Wonderful, primal, disruptive, the delicious shiver of otherness in it.