Coyote Returns, by Charlotte Hildebrand

You can hear them at night; a pack of 50 or 100, or maybe just 20, down in the canyon yipping and yowling for a good long while after a siren goes off. I’ve never seen a pack, but I have seen a solitary coyote hanging out by the turn in the road, my headlights illuminating its opaque, glass-colored eyes, when I come home from work. I’ve wondered if this isn’t the same lone coyote that visits next door in the middle of the day, looking for a handout from my neighbor Thea.

Thea started feeding a coyote two years ago, when it was a toddler. I told her, pleaded with her, that it was wrong to feed a wild animal and, much to my surprise, she agreed; she promised to stop but then she didn’t. I felt helpless to do anything about it: my neighbor is old and lonely. The coyote was her friend.

I hadn’t seen the coyote for three or four months; I’d missed its absence, for no matter what you say, having a wild animal nearby can send shivers down your spine. It’s thrilling, yet….it’s still wrong. I was sitting down to write, when, out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash, it was the coyote back in Thea’s yard!

Coyote biding his time until I leave

I heard Thea calling to the coyote, “Come, come. Come, come,” in her German accent, as she placed food on the ground. I grabbed my video camera and ran outside. You can see in the video, the coyote looking to the left (Thea), then looking straight ahead (me) and the dilemma he finds himself in. He doesn’t know what to do: here’s a witness to his forsaking his wild coyote ways, and I imagine, he’s a little bit embarrassed. Later, he plops down in the grass in Thea’s lower yard, smelling the flowers (a true Ferdinand, the coyote), passing a peaceable afternoon.

After 45 minutes of taking the breezes and catching bugs, he goes back to dine at Thea’s table.

This posting was reprinted with Charlotte’s permission from her blog, The Rat’s Nest. Please visit her site to see and enjoy more of her fabulous writing!

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