I decided to try for a longer run tonight, so I headed south on the Rotary Greenway Trail. The sun was about to set, and there was a pleasant chill in the air. The trail was heady with the scent of common milkweed blossoms. Apparently the conditions were perfect for wildlife, because I saw five different species during my run.

The first were Canada geese, ever present on the shores of the Otonabee River, and not overly scared of anyone. They needn’t be; geese can be quite vicious. A stately great blue heron was perched on a long dock, scanning for fish right along side two fisher-people. I marveled that such a bird would be that close to humans; I have always associated them with wilderness. Next up was a striped skunk, ambling along the path without a care in the world. I had to slow my pace to a walk for this one and basically wait for him (her?) to decide to be done with the path. There is no hurrying a skunk. My most treasured encounter was with a red fox, trotting across my path about 5 m ahead of me. I got a very good look at this sleek beauty. The last wildlife was nosing around in the garbage cans of the Riverview Park and Zoo, a raccoon.

How lucky I was to have enjoyed these encounters despite being surrounded by urban development on all sides. There is something to be said for a greenway path in town; it helps humans coexist with wildlife. There is also something to be said for these species; they are resilient. Each species is remarkably different from any other in terms of their specific adaptations, yet they accomplish the same goal. They each have persevered in a changing environment. What lessons can be learned from their ability to coexist with us?