4.24.2009,7:36 AM
Mr. Coyote
Old Man Coyote has left a legacy. He pooped in my driveway.

Living in a boundary between suburbia and rural country ('rurbania'?), wildlife overlaps the edges of ranches and suburbs. I share a former cow pasture with owls, hawks, deer, armadillos, fox, an occasional cow, egrets, and coyotes. A pack of coyotes often yips and sings within a deeply forested ravine bordering my pasture. One coyote has an identifying singular voice. Not all coyote, not all dog, not all wolf. Maybe he went to Coyote School of Music.

This morning I heard a voice wafting through the open windows: a howl/yip/bark. Unlike the sharp staccato of individual coyote yips, which blended together echo an acre full of giant peepers on a warm spring night. Not quite the smoother legato and vibrato howl of a lone wolf, nor the domesticated curt bark of a dog. This coyote's voice is a blend of all three.

Sometimes this coyote is the conductor of the pack; he or she is the primo (or prima), the first voice. Then, one by one, the rest of the pack joins in, a cresendo sometimes becoming a cacophony of harsh canine voices. But through the discordance the euphony of that single coyote stands alone, and is sometimes the fermata of the session - one last stanza hanging in the night air.

This morning outside my back windows I heard the cadenza, a solo performance of Mr. Coyote. The lone performer was close enough that each note was sharp and distinct. Near to the outside door, I slowly opened it and stood outside on the step in the darkness. Searching the line of trees to the northeast of the house, the tree tops were silhoetted by the faint glow of a neighbor's outside light in the fog. Once more I heard a short colla parte, a short string of vocalization, to which I turned and faced. 'Benissimo!' But the darkness would not reveal my canine friend.

Part of me then wanted to join him; shed this skin of human complexity and run free. A smile crept across my face, realizing that wish stemmed from a week of stressful work and private life. Yet, as I sit here typing this in the midst of the day surrounded by people and machines, that urge to chuck it all remains like a tiny ember that won't die. My solace is knowing my Sanctuary waits for me at the end of the day; home where the coyotes still roam and sing. That is what renews and rejuventates me.

I think that some day, Mr. Coyote, you and I should sit and have a conversation. Maybe even sing together. And I'll have to ask why you and your friends always poop on the roads.


posted by Macrobe
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