Monday, September 02, 2019
Labor Day! Another end of summer. It cools down some after sundown, and that’s welcome, for until recently all our 24-7’s were sweltering. During the night before last, coyotes came to call. They’d been in the neighborhood awhile because in the distance dogs barked consistently. Nothing bothered me much, even when the four dogs in my bedroom periodically and noisily accompanied neighboring dogs. Suddenly, the sounds came from coyotes themselves, and they’re on my property!
It’s been a long while since coyote sounds last penetrated my household. Over the years, this side of town has become increasingly populated and busier with traffic. There are BLM lands nearby, and so, it seemed puzzling when the frequent deep night sounds of hunting coyotes nearly disappeared.
Now to try describing the sounds of truly wild animals. Coyotes produce nothing like the barks of domestic dogs, and instead make ear-wrenching screeches, not quite screams but unquestioningly sounding of wildness. Those screeches turned my dogs into their noisiest, got them running back and forth throughout the house. My cat had been sitting in a window, and now, leaped onto my bed and dived under the covers. I arose and peered through various windows to see where the coyotes actually were. Their sounds came from within 50 feet but no animals were visible. Something held them in place for long noisy minutes–a pause in action but not in sounds. Events must have occurred more quickly than it seemed, for suddenly, the coyote noises moved off and eventually quieted, but not for my dogs and others in outside surroundings, who continued sounding alarms.
I looked at the clock, it was around midnight, cool outside, perfect fall weather for nortunal animals, those who feed, those who hunt, and for packs cycling in sprees of wilding.
While searching for a visual for coyotes to accompany this essay, I was reminded of the many ways humans feel about these animals. For example, who can forget Looney Toon’s Wile E. Coyote and his nemesis the Roadrunner?
Coyotes are problematic for many reasons, for one they’re not terrifying although often not far away. They may live near civilization in relative success given that trapping and hunting are legal activities among the many who always dislike the animals. Others of us grew up watching Wile E. cartoons and still see coyotes in a “funny way” as wistful and humane creatures.
Listening to them the other night was a realistic and almost fearful experience. Those sounds of sheer wildness remind us that coyotes aren’t comical creatures. I like them anyway.
Dear Friends: A wilder world reminds us of itself by revisiting in pieces. Diana