When my kids were young we lived in the mountains, close to nature’s wonders. Fueled by the magic of the natural world, my children were rambunctious and filled with the excitement and exuberance of youth.
Bedtime could be a challenge. Exhausted from days doing battle with trees, I would scheme, searching for the path of least resistance to get them to bed. The frequent howls of coyotes caught their attention in a way I could never seem to.
Coyotes were relentless in their search for food, rummaging through the trash and occasionally running off with a beloved family pet. We blamed the little beasts indiscriminately for things they may or may not have done.
My littlest child learned from an early age. She would squint her eyes, purse her lips and mutter, “Coy-o-tays,” shaking her head in disdain.
The coyotes would cackle in the darkness of night, we knew they were out there, planning and plotting. I used this to my advantage. When my pleas for sleep went ignored I would scream, “COYOTE!” and pull the covers up over my head. Both children would cease whatever distraction had their attention and run for the protection of my makeshift tent of protection. After a few squeals and shrieks, we would sit, waiting to see if we could hear them coming. It worked every time. In the silence, sleep would come for my kids and the coyotes became my friends.
Now, living in the city, I know the coyotes are not to blame for everything that is out of sorts. They are curious and cunning, sleek and sly. Yet they are not out to get me. They are my friends, doing what coyotes do.
I saw one this morning on his way home, as I was in my way to work. He saw me too. We both stopped what we were doing and made eye contact for a few moments.
In our brief exchange, I thanked him for helping me so many nights, so many years ago. He looked at me and winked, reminding me that there is no good or bad and not everything is as it seems.