The sun had just risen, it was about 7:15 am and I was alone on the road making my way toward Corcoran to spend the day with Sean. Silent except for the music on my car radio, there were no other cars on the 2-lane farm road from Selma into Corcoran (43) There are very few cars this early in the morning normally. I heard a message on my phone and glanced down, and when I looked up there was an animal making its way into the road directly in front of me. I figured it was likely a stray dog. As I got closer I could see it was a coyote. It paused on the road directly in front of my car and I came to a stop, staring at it. The coyote didn’t seem to even notice my vehicle, I wondered why. In the 6 years I have been coming to the prison to visit I have never spotted a coyote let alone had one right in front of me on the road. I pulled out my phone to take a picture or video, not the brightest idea but hey I was up at 3:30 am so my judgement was a bit off. But the coyote saw my movement and ran off. I smiled and continued on my way.
According to my brief online searches, the coyote is revered in Native American culture to be an important messenger of personal transformation through self-reflection. A coyote sighting is generally a message to take a look within, to not take life too seriously, lighten up and learn to laugh at ourselves and even our mistakes. I think that makes a lot of sense, I like that message.
When I arrived at the prison, I processed through and then Sean and I sat together and celebrated my birthday. Once the visiting room became crowded we were asked by the visiting officer to pick someone to sit with. Sitting at the same table with another inmate and visitor is something we are rarely made to do, but on the occasion that the visiting room gets crowded, “doubling up” allows more people to be accommodated and for us to keep having our visit as opposed to having to leave. So we gladly oblige and normally try try to sit with someone we kind of know.
Coincidentally, Sean and I had just been recounting our wedding day on which his buddy, a Russian inmate, had generously bought us a piece of cake from the vending machine, brought it over to our table, and had wished us congratulations on behalf of the Russian Consulate (he was kidding). He is a humorous, friendly, happy kind of guy whom Sean recognizes as someone who wants to do good and be good. So we chose to move to the table he was at and the visiting officer allowed us to do so.
The Russian, as we will refer to him for privacy reasons, warmly greeted us and stood to introduce us to his visitor, his sweet grandmother. I shook her hand with my two hands and smiled. Once we sat down, the Russian told me about how much Sean values his relationship with me, describing how hard he works to get phone calls. He went on to briefly tell the Parable of the Pearl and likened Sean to the merchant with me being the pearl; saying Sean does everything he can for our relationship and in his life I am the consistent goal, the most precious. Although I am very aware of this, it was nice to hear from an outside observer.
For those unfamiliar with The Parable of the Pearl as I was, it is this:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
At one point I had gotten up to throw away our trash and when I got back The Russian and his grandma had purchased a Birthday Treat for me and Sean. It is rare to have friends inside prison. It is hard to know who you can trust, so normally we don’t really make friends. It was so nice to have this friend who had bought us cake on our wedding day, now bestowing us with treats for my Birthday. What a nice experience for us, I know it may sound strange but it truly was unique. We all genuinely enjoyed sharing a table that day.