Last night Twig and I sat our nightly vigil keeping an eye on the sky. No clouds, no halo, and the moon having risen later than last night it was having to catch up; otherwise, firmament was unchanged. Then it happened — yips and howls, whines, and yowls, rising and falling of coyote ululation, the perfect desert nighttime sound and one that always brings me to smile. Partly it’s the pleasure of rightness sustained and partly of satisfaction that they still survive even after all we’ve put them through. “God’s dog,” for sure. My dog, on the other hand, was silently alert; at home among the pack of four she’s always the first to vent her primordial wild Canid nature in the morning, more wolf-like than coyote; it seems her response to the sunrise. But last night she just listened. On my first visit here all the years ago I was up early with a lantern against the dark and coffee against the chill, dog Annie (the best that ever existed, she died in her sleep nineteen years ago) at rest on her long leash; then coyotes spoke, and, out of character, she rushed away, snapping her collar, and disappeared into the night. I was sure she’d either be killed or—who knows? —join the pack and I’d never see her again. I stayed in place brooding and waiting for light, imagining the worst, and in an hour, she returned, greeted me, and resumed her position, now collarless.

#coyote #desert #desertnights

Photo by Joshua Wilking on Unsplash

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