Friday, June 01, 2007

The Roadrunner

Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus

During my visit to the Saguaro National Park several years ago I saw almost every desert creature I've ever heard of. As I was driving along the parkway a roadrunner started running alongside the car, matching my speed exactly and looking up at me now and then, even smiling at me, it seemed. This bird was no more than six feet away and as we went down the road together I was struck by how big it was and how exactly like the cartoon creature it was, cheerfully chugging along at 15 mph.

I decided to try to get a picture but as I reached for my camera the bird looked me directly in the eye one more time, flashed me a mischievous smile then shifted into gear and passed me on foot, easily running ahead of the 15 mph car then cutting across my path and into the sage on the night-hand shoulder. In my mind's ear I heard him go "Beep, beep!" as he ran past the moving car. He never took wing.

At last I finally understood how the coyote felt.

-- Dalton Hammond