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.