Photo by Audrey Pavia
A lot of people don’t like coyotes; they raid trashcans and eat the family cat. Some people are afraid of coyote attacks on their kids. But not me — I love coyotes.
I’m lucky enough to live in a suburb that is close to the open land and filled with coyotes. On some nights, when I go outside to feed the horses, I hear coyotes singing in the hills. One time, I howled back at them after they had stopped. Nigel started howling with me, and then the coyotes joined in. I felt like a werewolf, howling along with the canids.
When I ride on the bridle paths here in town, I sometimes see coyotes. Last weekend, I saw a roadrunner alongside the trail and then a coyote a few minutes later. I half expected to see a stack of ACME TNT next.
Coyotes seem to follow me everywhere. I think I see more than my fair share of them. When I go on competitive trail rides with Milagro, I often see them. Sometimes, when I walk around the lake at work, I see them too. In fact, the most amazing encounter I’ve ever had with a coyote happened just last week.
I was sound asleep at 4:30 a.m., when my eyes suddenly popped open. I could hear what sounded like three yipping coyotes in the moonlight. The thing is, they seemed to be right outside my bedroom window, which would have put them in my backyard.
I was shocked. As I lay there listening to them, my heart started to race. Not only was my heart racing from the excitement of being so close to such wild creatures, but also because I wondered if they had just caught something. I began to panic. I jumped out of bed and staggered into the living room, half asleep, to get a head count on all the cats. They gazed at me sleepily as I gradually located each one in different parts of the living room. All four were present and accounted for.
Next, I worried about coyote attacks on my chickens. I stood in the kitchen trying to clear the sleepy fog from my mind so I could remember if I had locked up to coop before I went to bed. I remembered locking it, so the chickens were safe. I shuffled back to bed and hoped not to find the blood of a neighbor’s cat or a desert cottontail on my patio.
The next morning, I saw no signs that coyotes had been anywhere near my property. Had I dreamed the whole thing? Given the number of times I have seen coyotes over the past couple of months, it was entirely possible. With all these close encounters with coyotes on my mind, I decided to investigate the Spirit of Coyote, according to Native American tradition, to see what it represents. It turns out Coyote is a trickster and prankster, which makes sense. I must have looked pretty funny wandering through the house half asleep looking for my cats and contemplating my chickens.