|Cold as Ice|
|Keeping the Coals Hot|
|Hiding From the Scary Monsters|
|Nary a Track This Way...|
|No Coyote Trails|
|Just a Clear Day Dawning Over Elmira|
It's pitch black and the dogs balk at the darkness which makes me wary. What is out there, unseen? Todd teases me that Elmira has night monsters. A former Army Ranger, he trudges out into the darkness, flashlight in hand, scanning the fields and forests for monster eyes. Sometimes he glimpses a cat or startles a deer. Once he walk right past a moose. From the pile of droppings it left so near his boot tracks, suffice to say Todd scared the moose.
But Todd is working down in Moses Lake and I'm all alone fighting what my weather report calls, "frigid weather." Bobo dashes off the porch to pee by the garage and I think, "no monsters," so I follow down the steps with Grendel on a leash. He lifts his leg on a bushy pine and banshees begin to wail.
Bobo freezes mid-squat and Grenny turns off his stream. My heart skips and I'm ready to levitate back to the porch, I'm so scared. It screams again and Bobo gives off a low growl. Fear turns to protectiveness, as I realize it's a coyote and very close. Bobo is off leash. "Come here," I rumble. I'm worried about BoBo.
She trots to me, but the ki-yi-ing kicks into full production. It's only one coyote and they call for many reasons--marking territory, calling in the pack and baiting dogs. The first few calls that were so eerie sounds as if the coyote is injured. Even I want to go see if he's okay.
But coyote is a trickster. And the hair standing up on the back of my neck is a good indicator that I need to not go off investigating like my Ranger husband would do. The coyote may be trying to lure my dogs, so I grasp the leash tightly and hold onto Bobo until we get into the house.
Grendel continues to bark although Bobo decides that the freshly stoked fire is a good place to settle near. Even in the house I can hear the eerie cries. I swear the coyote is in my front yard.
Come morning, I rise early to fan the coals once more. I'm curious to track our nighttime trickster but see nothing but smooth snow. Not a single track, trail or hint of any presence but our own. I look to the abandoned schoolhouse beyond our northern pasture and still see no sign.
The monsters all dissolved with the rising sun, having only teased me with howls of coyote calls.