As with Doc and the Bear,
this was just dashed off for the memory,
never edited and forgotten for a spell, here it is warts an all,
just another fun adventure with the critters…
Coyote Holds a Singing Lesson
It’s Saturday night, (7/15/06). I had made a rum and coke and settled in at the computer to work on The Fire Mask, my current Sci-Fi short (opps, not this one!) story. Worked ‘til one AM last night and it was flowing well. Today, I also planned to write, but fate made me a plumber. Among other things: I drove to Grand Junction and I have a new potty in The White Tiger. (Hey, at least it was Saturday, instead of Sunday, Centennial RV was open and had the goods!) I do not wish to dwell upon that part of my day.
It was going well again tonight. I had worked maybe an hour or so; I lose track, been in and out a time or two and finished the rum and coke. Now, it was probably around 8:50 or so, just getting dark; the crepuscular hour. (I always like to write at this time of night and I take breaks and go outside to keep up with the deer, the sunset and the oncoming stars, etc.) Writing along;… and this coyote starts to bark, close. At first, I thought it might be the den of pups in the rocks on my side of the gully west of A—-’s house; that sometimes practice their howling skills abut this time of night. But no! It has been weeks since I’d heard them and they are must out of the den by now. So, I turn down my pops classical station on my Sirius boom box and I turn out the light that I had only turned on maybe ten or fifteen minutes before, and leaned on the couch in front of the open window facing north up the field.
This fellow is close, I can hear him breathe and every little catch of the yips and howls in his throat. By now he’s got A—-’s dogs fired up and barking good. So, I grab the night vision scope and go out the door and carefully around to the front of the White Tiger and peek around. The main glare of the sunset is about forty-five degrees off to my left but the glow is still a lot for the scope even though I’m looking along the sage margin which is darker. The grass in the field is still too bright to get detail, but there he is! He’s about fifty yards up the field margin, close to the sage. This fellow is dancing about in the same spot, raising his head for the howls and barking and yipping. He can’t see the dogs and the dogs can’t see him. Its a quarter mile or more to A—-’s and the coyote is still sixty or eighty yards from the edge of the sage and oaks where he could look across the swale of A—-’s big field and actually see the house and the dogs.
He’s barking a throaty, a bit breathy or coughing “arf”, repeated four but usually five times about every five seconds. There are sounds that coyotes make that are similar to the jackals on Charlie’s Creatures of the Night tape; some of these sounds are like some of those. If the dogs seem to flag, he throws in a nice short howl, cut off at the end by a throaty inhale sound. This goes on for ten or fifteen minutes. But the coyote has started adding another sound to the repertoire. This one is that nice little low chuckling that they do. It always sounds like laughing to me. I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that this sound is one of the things that made the Indians decide that coyote was the trickster. The impression was hard to escape that this fellow was jerking the nice doggies’ chains and laughing at them; certainly showing that he can control them. They bark and howl at his pleasure.