The coyote is tricky. His song both brings me peace in my memory and a chill down my spine. In all these years and every encounter I have never once captured his photograph, until today. It is not even a great picture, but I am over-the-moon about it.
Living in the sticks, like we do, there are some mornings when they chatter and call and howl and yip beyond the horizon. This morning I heard them, and not expecting to see anything tried to catch a glimpse of anything in the dim early morning light.
To my surprise I saw three coyote cackling from the top of the distant stack of round bails. Delight course through me as I ran to grab my camera and tear through the rose bushes in my back yard for a better look. The count was down to one and they no longer were sharing their truth, but I was able to make focus!
On cold winter nights the coyotes’ yips will bring back memories of my sisters and I bunked upstairs at the ranch house in Bellehellen. To access the main part of the house we had to go outside, down stairs, and cut across the yard.
When the coyotes called we would wait and wait and wait to pee. Then, when we could not hold it any longer we would convince the others to accompany us. When we got to the bottom of the stairs we would hold hands and race into the house.
It was thrilling to be chased by the coyotes and their eerie song. We felt that in the dark of night, that close to the wilderness line, we were a part of the food chain. It is perhaps one of my most fond sister-memories.
In 2006 I would often walk my dogs on a path past the Old Bottle Dump in Tonopah, close to where the sewer ponds are. It was a two mile circle and about the most perfect place to greet dawn and watch the sun light up Lone Mountain.
Most mornings my dogs would kick up a Jack rabbit and give great chase. Sometimes we would kick up a coyote, but in every instance it would flee and become hidden behind a small hill, without a picture keepsake or other incident.
In perhaps 15 encounters I had not one thought that perhaps I should find a less remote place to take a walk. Coincidentally my arrogance was about to be put into check by the Trickster. A mile into our walk, one morning, we began to turn toward the truck and I could see it off in the distance. I braced myself, because the last mile was all uphill.
A coyote popped its head up about 10 yards away from me and I only noticed because it yipped. I was startled. The dogs took chase. They were almost instantly out of sight, lost in the hilly terrain.
Completely annoyed and apprehensive by the weird yip and the worry about my dogs who clearly did not hear me screaming bloody murder for them to stop chasing the friggin’ coyote; I jogged in the direction they had headed off.
When I was about a 1/3 mile from the road and out of site of my truck, Toby and Bonanza were now headed in my direction. Behind them were now four coyotes.
The dogs and I ran to the road with the coyotes in pursuit. I was scared and completely surprised by what was going on. While I ran I thought, “What do I do?”
When I got to the road I attempted to scare the pack, who stayed about 8 yards from my frightened yells and rocks. Bonanza was under my feet and I tripped over her. Good old Toby began to chase the coyotes then, and they ran about 20 yards out.
Back and forth it went 20 to 8 yards distance those coyotes stayed right with us as we pushed forward. My truck never looked so far away.
That experience is not typical of coyotes. It took me quite a while to calm down from the experience and realize it was human and not coyote caused. It forever made me more responsible when it came to the never-never of Nevada. It also gave me much respect for one of God's least understood creatures.
Now, when I hear them speak such sweet truth to the sun as it rises I get confirmation for my decision to live off the beaten path, rural, rustic, and up against the land. Like a song takes me back to a time and place. It brings me a little thrill from within. And, there is nothing like stalking and capturing your nemesis at dawn, to begin a Friday. I feel that there are lucky things ahead for me.
I hope it is forever a part of the soundtrack of my life.