“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.”
Yesterday I took a couple of the dogs, Pepper and Sprite, out for a walk. Spring is here, and the critters are out.
I first saw the coyote about a hundred yards down the road. It stopped to look at us. I stopped. Once it had figured out what we were, it faded silently into the woods to my left.
There are a lot of coyotes around here, but I almost never see them, like maybe twice in 12 years. Hear them, yes, but not see them. I got the distinct gut feeling that it was circling around in the woods to watch us from behind. A few dozen more paces on, the dogs caught the smell. They hadn't noticed before. I love watching them scent. Their ears and noses twitched.
When we past a certain spot about 50 feet closer than where the coyote had stood, their heads snapped right in unison. I guessed that this was the place the coyote had come out on to the road before our arrival.
Both dogs scented eagerly in the air as we walked, then Sprite had her head down when we reached the place I had seen it and she was drinking up so much heavy scent that she had to lick her lips to clear them. Pepper was starting to lose interest "Eh, coyote, big deal."
They both turned their heads to look into the woods at the place it had disappeared. I'm guessing it was long gone by then.
That was our first morning encounter.
Another mile down the road a bald eagle flew just over my head, near the river. I watched a pair of geese watching me as they paddled upstream.
On the way back I heard the sweetest, purest sound in nature: the Wood Thrush. It has a habitual summer home at a certain tree farm on our road, and this was the first time I'd heard it back again. It is like a flute, only prettier.
Since I last wrote, we lost two more of our beloved dogs: Kip and Cinder. We are down to seven dogs, which seems like enough for now.
Since the snow melted I have been working Tessa, Pepper, Sprite and Ben again, usually just Wednesdays and Fridays. Taz is a bit more dog than I want to handle at the moment. If you know anyone looking for that intensity, he's available to the right working home. This is not a dog to sit on the couch all day. He's very affectionate, wants to be in your lap once he gets to know you. I'm sure he'd work cattle. His dad was Hank and his mom, Tessa. He doesn't do anything really naughty in the 50 x 50 pen, he's just really intense. He's learned to circle and to stop on balance, but I haven't done much more than that.