This just gave me the chills and brought a tear to my eye as I read......It is so true I thought I would share. Parable of the Last Coyote -- Meg Scott Tampa Tribune, August 10, 2007 We moved to Florida five years ago with a great appreciation for its lush, natural beauty and abundance of wildlife, and I vowed, just before buying our pre-owned home nestled among immense trees, to leave as small a foot print on natural habitats as a size nine flip flop can possibly make. I understood too well and too late what happens when we human beings don't do that. I'm ashamed to admit that, once upon a time, in the name of progress, I inadvertently helped destroy one of the most beautiful Texas meadows ever created, an act that became tragic and real only after I'd lived each day watching animals struggle to survive then disappear, knowing that I was a part of the destruction chain. Our house was the first one built in the meadow that would quickly become a large gated subdivision with fenced yards. For two years as it built around us, we watched and learned what really happens when "civilization" arrives. In the beginning, hawks soared high over the meadow and coyotes sang us to sleep at night. During the day when I'd take my dogs down to the creek to sit amid wildflowers under giant oak trees, we'd see deer or rabbits peek out at us as well as other small critters. Every day we'd greet two old cow dogs that had once run cattle across that meadow. The two scruffy, confused, old wranglers still took morning walks down to the creek, no doubt wondering what had happened to their wide open home on the range. They'd lived rough and long, but they didn't know about dodging cars and construction trucks now lumbering across the meadow. One of the cow dogs was the first meadow casualty. We saw his old companion sad and alone at the creek bank one morning, then we found him lying close to the road. After that, his old friend came to the creek once or twice, then disappeared as well. Rabbits were increasingly forced to live out in the open as fences went up around their former habitats. One of them I named Mazie would stand at my fence gate and wait for carrots and lettuce each evening. There wasn't much else left for her to eat. Twice she came into my backyard to deliver her bunnies. One day, she too disappeared. Although most people wouldn't categorize me as a sentimentalist, the tragedy and irony of that meadow taught me what may have been the greatest lesson of my life. I noticed over time that the only things growing fatter around our meadow-in-transition were the hawks and the coyotes. Small animals didn't have a chance. One of the coyotes grew into a huge, magnificent, proud creature - King of the Meadow. While my neighbors and I mourned the loss of small creatures, we still thrilled in catching a glimpse of that wild creature stalking the neighborhood at night. His fur grew thick, his eyes bright. He became more wolf than coyote and the pride of the subdivision. Something wild had survived us - for a while. One day as we drove home to our completed subdivision, we noticed cars moving slowly around something lying in the road near the entrance. No one blew horns or resorted to road rage as they gazed down at the road where he lay - the last coyote, lying there still except for the wind blowing through his thick gray fur. Everyone gazed sadly, silently, even respectfully upon this last wild thing. And so the new school came to serve the people of the former meadow, and with that came the businesses to support those who now lived in the former meadow. Traffic increased, and one day not long after the last coyote died, the first human traffic fatality occurred at the intersection. And we, the people who had moved to the meadow for its natural beauty and its slower pace discovered that we had built the thing we'd fled. And with the coming of spring that year, on our evening walks, we noticed that the other walkers around us were no longer friendly strollers aware of and soothed by any beauty around them, but were instead speed-walkers timed to wrist watches, panting and sweating in the stifling heat rising from the concrete meadow. Until someone with the power and the will to be heard yells, "Stop! This is madness," development of what should be protected will continue, and when it does, no one wins. We all lose.