The howling began around 4 a.m. A coyote in the small glade of pines beside my house began calling to his mates. A distant how-whoooooooo resonated back. The lone voice outside my window called again, so near that it sent a shiver up my spine. I swear I’d see that coyote if I could tear myself from the warmth of my bed to peer out into the night.
How-whoo-ooo-ooo-ooo. A looping, lilting canine yodel.
Maybe it’s Hey-yooooouuuu! Hey you? What’s up?
I opened my eyes.
Really? Really you guys? Listen, I don’t mind sharing the territory with you, but can you keep it down when I’m trying to sleep?
No, of course not.
Honestly, one of these days I’m going to step out onto the back porch in my bath robe and howl back at them. How-whoooooo. Or maybe, Hel-loo-ooo-ooo! Do you mind hushing uuuuuuuuuup? If I were a different sort of personality, I’d bark at high volume.
My kids might point out that howling at the coyotes wouldn’t be a big stretch for me since I have regular conversations with our two cats.
“Mom, we worry that you’re going to turn into a crazy cat lady,” one of them will say observing me as I ask our grey tabby her opinion on the current state of the weather.
“It’s not crazy to talk to cats,” I respond. “They are excellent listeners. I mean just look at the eye contact between us.”
Besides Miley doesn’t how-whhooooo in the middle of the night. No, she will issue the occasional pleading –me-rowwwrrrr? Me-rowwwrrrr? But never a how-whooooo.
At least it wasn’t that mournful collective yip-yipping that I always associate with the coyotes having successfully cornered some hapless prey. I can never fall back to sleep after that. And this morning, there’s was no going back to sleep either, the coyote alarm service having successfully roused me from my slumber.
The upside of the coyote wake-up call? I get to enjoy a steaming hot morning coffee in absolute silence. No phone ringing. No one yapping at me. No real need to do anything but sit and contemplate. I’ll get to see the sunrise. And best of all: at least it wasn’t 2 a.m.