Just now John called me to the kitchen because he was watching two coyotes trot through what used to be our orchard. They were moving along the perimeter, between open ground and the forest. Our cat, Winter, has been very skittish lately, wanting to go out and then wanting back in again very quickly so I’ve half-expected to hear coyotes in the night. For many years, we’ve heard them in the woods to the south of our house, a mating pair, and we’ve seen the offspring from time to time, including the pup in the image above a few years ago. The pair we just saw might be the constant couple or else a new pair but this is obviously part of their territory because I sometimes see one or more passing my study window. I’m here now, with a camera ready.
Here’s a passage from the title essay of my collection, Euclid’s Orchard:
At my desk, I look up to see two large brindled coyotes lope out of the bush and across the grass in front of my study. In the past, I’ve heard coyotes in the woods just south of our house and suspect there’s a den there used year after year. Once, reading in bed late at night, my husband and I heard a pair mating— the rhythmic grunts and growls, the high-pitched squeals, a passionate duet, tempo changing until all we could hear was an urgent expressive finale, and then silence. Though running, these two also seemed at ease in their surroundings, coming out of the woods where there’s a rough game trail used by deer and elk, and crossing the grass as though they’d done it many times before, on their way to the orchard. I called my husband to see, but by the time we opened the back door, they’d disappeared.