Today was clear and wintery, a light coating of ice skimmed the pond and the ground was hard underneath Zelda’s hooves. The last of the geese stood on the thin film of ice, threatening to erupt into a whirling dervish of wings and honking, but managed to stay quiet, huddled together while we passed.
Later, when I returned to feed, the night air cut sharp but still. A tiny sliver of moon and millions of stars bright against the night sky. The song of a coyote pierced the night, punctuated with staccato yips, yaps, and barks. The notes were thin and musical, floating through the air. Unlike the call of the barred owl, who I often hear at dusk, this had a higher pitch, a more varied melody.
I stood and listened for awhile which the horses munched on their hay. To them, the song was not unusual. It didn’t strike them as eerily beautiful. The coyotes walk through their pasture frequently and without disturbance. One has been known to wait by Freedom’s feed pan, presumably to nab the bold chipmunks who steel mouthfuls of grain.
But to my ears, the call of the coyote is another reminder that in this suburban setting, the wildness is just beyond sight, waiting out in the darkness. Of course, coyote’s no longer just inhabit the wilderness. Several have been apprehended in New York, with three caught in Central Park in the past few years. Many live in San Francisco’s park system (although they are smaller than our Eastern coyotes) and more than 4,000 coyotes purportedly live in Chicago.
We occasionally see them behind our house, but I’ve never heard them call in our woods. More often I see foxes than their larger cousins. How about you? Do you come across coyote where you live and ride?