Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A mile from home

Last week Stella and I were taking one of our regular walks at Ellington Agricultural Center. The landscape looks as if it's been dipped in squash blossoms and Thanksgiving dinner this time of year. Aside from the police horses that live there, an occasional turtle, and one small fox, we've not had as many wildlife encounters there as one might imagine. If we had, I expect the dead cat would've been more of a tip-off.

It had been there for a good long time. Stella's nose was clearly off-duty when we walked up on it and praise Jesus, I was able to steer her away from it before they met. We crossed paths with the coyote shortly thereafter.

I saw it in the distance and thought it was a fox. Stella saw it too. Pretty color, I thought. It matched the tall sandy grass and then it turned in our direction and moving at a steady clip, it began to get a lot bigger. I ordered Stella to stop and sit. Her immediate response confirmed my suspicion that it wasn't a fox at all. When it saw us, it froze. Me and Stella were already frozen.

When the coyote decided to turn back I was relieved and we headed for the big field at the bottom of the hill. The coyote did too but we were paying close attention now and when we walked into the field it stepped out of the tall grass (about 150' feet away) and sized us up again. This time, it was Stella and I that turned back.

I hope that makes us even.

Today we went back again and although we walked with a renewed perspective, the only wild critter we ran upon - used to be a possum. Much like the kitty, it had been professionally killed. Surely there's a hawk or a big owl cutting in on that coyote's gravy train, it's doubtful the coyote would've left enough of the carcass to identify.

To be honest, I hadn't planned on writing about the coyote encounter at all. The idea for this post started with the (profound) observation that Stella was so excited when she got out of the car this afternoon that her butt was moving faster than her head, but I guess I can write that one anytime.

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