Of course like anyone with a soul or even half a brain, I thought they were ‘neat’ and if you said you saw one or whatnot, I would want to hear about it. And if I saw one, either an old mangy and coy one wandering along the outskirts of woodland, like I did at first, or a young one, playing almost, a beautiful coat receiving shards of sun, he so curious and the scene so curious, I would watch and watch and watch. But then something else happened that brought my appreciation from normal to one that was more on the level of awe and that real great and terrific wonder that we seek in books and movies and real life.
And what was it?
It was this:
I was down with the dogs really deep into the valley that already sits nestled quite far back in the forest. There is not much there in the way of civilization, which is for sure, and therein lays the beauty of it all. The trees and the moss and the mushrooms and the rest are probably the same as elsewhere, but they seem grander, purer, taller, more robust, - more ‘everything good’ because it is simply a more untouched place. Maybe there is a vortex or something there, - who knows? I was on a ridge going back up the far side, - the side opposite of the one I had comes down. Now remember, - these dogs have hound, Shepherd, Husky, possibly some Doberman and whatnot- they are hounds, great and gorgeous mutts, - and they can hear and sniff out a person, an animal, a squirrel, an almost anything, - from pretty far off. They are agile, spry, alert, young, healthy, and above all keen, keen, keen in all ways. But I saw, right up from them, two medium size coyotes. I could not really tell if they were coyotes or coy-wolfs or coy-dogs, but I seem to feel they were regular coyotes….
Now these two had either already been there, or else had come out of the coyote curiosity as it were, to see what was going on with us, the newly introduced beings. Whatever the case, - they were now close, about forty feet. They were beautiful, and I could make them out, however they were at the same time quite camouflaged. This was in part due to their coloring seeming to match or matching the forest and the forest floor, - its leaves, its logs, its terrene parts, its chaparral and its feral shrubs et al. So these beings really just at all that had me a bit transfixed. I didn’t feel fear, and I didn’t feel overwhelming wonder, - but rather just watched them. They seemed like they had shape shifted and just appeared there the way a leaf could have blown in. They had some kind of extra, above, meta, beyond, mystical aura about them, - something that you could sense, - but not quite grasp through thinking too much about it.
Then I noticed something just as peculiar and quite surprising.
The dogs, closer to them than I, did not see them!
This is really odd if thought about (and odder yet to actually witness). This means that there were two coyotes in close proximity, - and the dogs didn’t hear, smell, intuit, or see them. Talk about being able to go undetected. This survival mechanism or way of being must have always been paramount to the coyotes' survival and general makeup. I didn’t and don’t worry too much about them and the dogs in terms of a fight or food as I am tall and unafraid, and the dogs are also. Plus, there are the three of us. In times before that and after, - I am almost certain that it is coyotes in fact that the dogs were chasing, though it could have been deer. Well, - when I noticed that the they couldn’t see the coyotes so quiet and almost mystical as the coyotes were, - my respect grew even moreso. How would it be to be a coyote? What would it seem like? They seem in-between worlds, liminal. They have a kind of grace and glide to their movements. In my small research, a layman’s research that is just for fun and a labour of love, - I have learned from reading and watching documentaries that they travel everywhere, that that they eat almost anything from meat to berries and vegetables and insects. This is no doubt a large part of their success in surviving and even thriving. I was talking briefly to the old farmer who owns that land and mentioned another one I had seen,- and he said he thinks they work in pairs and somehow talk to one another. I learned that they work together and also alone.
All in all,- and I don’t know why this is exactly- it is more interesting to think say, now,- of the woods at night,- and know there are coyotes there as opposed to wolves (of which I don’t know there are or not). And why? Perhaps it is because they are the thing a bit lesser known, just a bit or more esoteric and mysterious. And they are a bit of an underdog, are they not? When once one thinks of a wolf one thinks of a king, a dominant animal, - all those t-shirts, posters, blankets, murals, so on- that show the proud and, yes,- magisterial wolf. And this is deservedly so of course. But…I have never seen such hoopla as regards a coyote. I think there should be. Or maybe not. If they became that popularized, then it is possible some of the mystery and magic would be reduced.
So what happened to those two coyotes that watched us from so close, - that were on the inner valley? They made little circles and looked back some as they began to move away. The one in the distance, a bit more off, - turned and left into the thicker forest. The one closer, well it watched a bit more, but was still moving off. While going away, up the hill, - it turned one last time and looked, spun around, - and ran off almost like a cluster of leaves being taken up the hill by an invisible yet confident and large gust of wind. I laughed to myself as I watched the dogs; the dogs that had not known anything had taken place whatsoever.
After a bit, - we continued onwards and had a regular enough time browsing the rest of the paths and fields beyond. We soon had the memory of various wildflowers, the sights of sand, pebble, stone, tree line, little waterway, moss, log, butterfly, and other. We formed a kind of trinity us three, though it was only my part of the three that time that had the memory of the two shape shifters on the valley wall.