Slice of Life (Day 25): Coyotes in the Distance

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write all through March, every day, about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

Duke heard it before I did. He stopped, frozen in motion. One paw was literally off the ground, and his head turned, sharp. The bristles on his back went up.

So I stopped, too, even though our early morning walk is often something I just want to get done with during the winter months. But he would not budge.

And then I heard it, too.

The high-pitched yelps of a single coyote off in the distance, followed by the cacophonous chorus of other coyotes joining in. Then, silence, before the single coyote began calling out again.

Duke was freaked out.

We’ve heard the coyotes before, in our early morning walks, and I knew they were outside the suburban neighborhood where we live. Likely, they were down by the river, where the woods brush up against people. The coyotes have been back for years now, as the regular signs on telephone poles asking if we’ve seen missing cats can testify. When people and nature butt heads, it is often the domesticated pets that pay the price.

Coyote Track flickr photo by mhawkins shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

“Come on. It’s OK. Let’s keep moving,” I whispered to Duke, and gently pulled on his leash. He turned, on my command and coaxing, rather reluctantly, and then kept on walking, a bit closer to by my side than usual. His head kept swiveling now and then, listening and wondering, and worrying.

But the morning had turned silent.

Peace (in nature),

  1. Bob went out with Lily the other morning and a coyote sat on the driveway as she f waiting for someone to take him for a walk. Checking out how the other half lives. Unlike me, Bob wasn’t worried. The coyote gave them a hard look and trotted off.

  2. Hey you had me stop breathing too… hairs on my back of my neck went way up too…
    Ahhh that’s good writing my friend.

  3. Oh, that is scary. I could really feel the tension in your writing. Lucy’s hackles would be up for sure. And I’d be in a hurry to get home.

  4. We have Coyotes too, in the valley behind our house. Sometimes, you’ll see one or two headed back to their den in the early morning. What really freaks me out is hearing them in the middle of the night – usually about 3am. Howling in chorus to the point where it sounds like giddy laughter. Glad i am safely in the confines of my home.

  5. You created such tension and concern in this slice, Kevin. I could feel the uneasiness in the descriptions of how Duke was reacting. I hope things stay safe for you. I’ve been intrigued by the comments I’ve seen where you lift a line from someone’s slice or poem and use it to create a response. I think you have inspired something for me to try out. Thank you.

  6. I felt like I was reading a snippet from one of the dog classics — Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, Stone Fox, The Incredible Journey. Well done. The tension. Your form. The progression. And a great final line that pulled me right back to your first line.

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