at 2:15 a.m., the night cold and starry, the coyotes were mating…

…just beyond our bedroom window. Every winter, reliable as clockwork, we hear them in the woods at the edge of our property. They den somewhere south of our house. Every now and then I see one amble by my window. Last winter we watched a pair down in the old orchard, one of them heading up the bank to where our cat was also watching them, from the deck. When it saw us, it disappeared into the bush.

On spring evenings we hear them, their families new, and in summers we hear them, singing in moonlight. In fall, we hear one, maybe. I imagine it’s the mother, wondering how the time has passed so quickly that the young have all left the den. One summer a pup came several mornings in a row, pausing to pull down salal branches so it could eat ripe berries with the most delicate care.


The ones last night? Where do they fit in the long sequence of generations? Are their songs specific to place? I wrote about them in the title essay of Euclid’s Orchard and I am writing the same things now.

One day a single light brown coyote came out of the woods and walked by my window. It had all the time in the world. It passed the wing of rooms where my children grew up. It passed the windows they looked out at night, first thing in the morning, drawing their curtains to let sunlight in or the grey light of winter, in excitement, lonely or sleepless, in good health and bad,
dazzled with new love or sorrow, at the lack of it, on the eve of their birthdays, new ventures, on the eve of leaving home. I went to the back of the house to see where the animal was headed, but it did what coyotes do, a trick I wish I could also learn. It dematerialized. Vanished into thin air.
–from “Euclid’s Orchard”

2 thoughts on “at 2:15 a.m., the night cold and starry, the coyotes were mating…”

  1. Hi Theresa~

    In return for your beautiful young coyote here’s a cousin from the prairies. I wasn’t able to include the photo in a comment directly to your blog but thought you’d want to see this young one. ‘Little Fox’ frequented the yard by the bird feeders a couple of springs ago. Seeing such wildness is always a gift. We too hear coyotes quite often, especially when the choruses of young ones seem to compete across the moonlit hills.

    It’s -55° with the wind chill here today so I hope all creatures are tucked down. The Sunshine Coast feels really appealing!

    All the best. ~Susan


    1. The photo doesn’t show up, Susan! Lucky you, to have foxes. I’ve seen them in other places — the Yukon, Ireland — and one of my sons said he saw one in our orchard many years ago, before there were coyotes on this Coast. I do love the choruses of coyote song. Last night there was a repeat performance an hour or two later. In summer, if an ambulance or police car goes by with its siren, the coyotes almost always join in!

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