night sky

night sky

While we were eating dinner last night, Venus appeared in the western sky, hanging clear and silvery against the deep blue horizon. Through the big firs, fragments of constellations. Orion, the Bear, and a wild glitter of bright stars across the heavens. When I got up in the night to pee, I think it was Betelgeuse setting to the north-west beyond Mount Hallowell, huge and red.

Just after we turned out our reading lamps, the coyotes started singing. It’s mating season and we could hear the female yipping, the male in hot pursuit, his voice reverberating with a rich vibrato. I’ve written about the coyotes before but every year it’s new. Every year, the reminder of adjacent lives, cycles, and constancy.

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.

—from “Euclid’s Orchard”, Mother Tongue Publishing, 2017.

2 thoughts on “night sky”

  1. What a purely delightful post. I’m so glad I read your intriguing line over at Kerry Clare’s Gleanings. I used to feel a deep-in-the-gut fear when we heard the nightly howl and yip of the coyotes. But your post is the exact opposite. I love reading about the coyotes as you have portrayed them. Warmest thanks.

    1. I’m glad you found me! This particular coyote couple (they mate for life, as a rule) has been around for more than a decade, or at least a couple has been, and it might be one of their offspring, mated. We’ve seen the pups in summer, nosing around, eating salal berries. I know they’re wild and I don’t want to tame them but I love their adjacent lives, the beauty of their music, the occasional sight of them in our old orchard, loping across the grass.

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