I woke earlier than normal this morning—long before 5:00. After starting some coffee and feeding my 40 pounds of housecat, I stepped outside and slipped into my hot tub. Several miles away, within the nighttime doublings of the Big Belt Mountains, a pack of coyotes erupted into howls.
I don’t know why coyotes cry.
Have they a lost love. Are they hungry? Is there sickness among them? Celebrating a successful hunt?
My grandfather loathed coyotes and would shoot them on site, if he could. He, my grandfather, was raised in the Canadian wilderness not long after men first began to settle there. He was a hunter. Coyotes were seen as competition. I know coyotes are the bane of ranchers. They, the leading predator when it comes to the loss of lambs and calves.
Me? I am mostly ambivalent about coyotes. I suppose there is a time and place for them. Same as a flower. Same as a weed.
The coyotes eventually fell silent. Soon after, a pair of headlights migrated up from a lakeside home across the way. I watched the headlights thread up through the trees and open spaces, climbing the hills holding the lake in place. The headlights crested the hills and drained out of view on the far side.
Likely a hunter heading out for this, the first day of big game season.
Today will be a good day to be the hunter.
Not so much the hunted.