Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Thursday, December 11, 2008


    I meant to get back here sooner, but I'm currently in the land of migraine. It hit last Friday morning (and no, it wasn't a hangover – it would take more than a single Guinness to do that). It gathered force through the day, through my oral presentation on communication challenges facing the modern midwife (you didn't miss much), through grocery shopping, until I went to pick up the boyos from school. They came out of school fighting. They might as well have punched me in the forehead. I told them we had to get home, now. They're used to staying after and playing on the monkey bars. More fighting ensued. We got to one of those parking lot meridians that the suburbs are so fond of and I stopped, absolutely floored with pain. I felt utterly bewildered, and probably looked like Clowncar's buck. I couldn't remember where the car was, or which car I'd taken, or even if I'd taken a car. I had the profound urge to just lie down there. My vision clouded over and I couldn't see in front of me.

    “Take me to the car, Jack. I can't see.” I held out my hand.

    They both stopped fighting. We went quietly to the car. I had to sit in the driver's seat for a few minutes until I could see well enough to drive the half mile home. Why didn't I call someone, ask for help? I wasn't thinking that clearly. I was a horse smelling water and had to get home. Now.

    When I did get home and called O, he couldn't understand what I was saying. He got home quick.

    After a ménage à trois with Prince Vicodin and his other brother Prince Vicodin, I was able to sleep. Sort of.

    I've been treating with ibuprofen since. The rest of the princes keep calling me though.

    But what I really want to write about is coyotes.

    Before Thanksgiving, O was up in the mountains winning at an overnight high-stakes poker game, and I was relaxing by the fire and working on my previously-mentioned oral presentation when my dog Sam wanted out. As I hooked his leash to his harness, his body tensed and his tail stood straight up. I looked out into the shadows cast by the pines and there he was not ten feet away – a coyote at the edge of the porch. Long-legged, about 45 pounds, stock obviously threaded with dog blood. Silent, stiller than the night. Then gone, Sam barking and snapping after him, my hand freshly rope-burned. One leap over the fence and he was a piece of the night again. Not a leaf crackled under his paw.

    I told O about him the next day. Coyotes had already taken down three dogs in the neighborhood, and any number of cats were missing. The foxes are long gone.

    A few nights later, I came into the kitchen and heard Sam barking his head off. O had let Sam out and went for a smoke in the garage. I threw open the sliding glass door and ran to where I saw his white body against the dark ground. The coyote was already jumping the fence, about a quarter acre away.

    My heart was pounding. Sam was fine, if a little hoarse. I grabbed his leash and gave it a pull. He turned and followed me back into the house. I reached with my right hand for the inside door handle and grabbed air. I stopped and looked. The handle was gone. That's when I realized it was in my left hand. I looked down, thinking I'd pulled it out by the screws.

    Here's what I saw:

    O came back in from the garage. I held up the door handle for him.

    As he installed a new handle the next day (those things are a pain in the ass), he grumbled that at least he knew if he were ever trapped under a car, I'd be able to lift it off of him.

    Tuesday, the boyos wanted to go to the park by our house, the one that borders the open space that used to be a bit of a wood before they tore it up for condos that will never be built. There's only a fringe of scraggly willows and cottonwood along a wash at the bottom of the hill now, spared I suppose, for scenery. I sat in the car, not wanting to sit in the cold and snow, and told the boyos to stay on the playground, not to go past the split rail fence into the open space. We noticed the coyote warning signs posted on the lamp post. The boyos went to the edge of the park. Then they turned and ran back to the car.

    “Mommy, come quick! Coyotes! We heard them! They're playing!”

    And they were, several hundred yards away. I got out of the car and watched them – a mama and her two almost-grown pups crossing the open space. Papa lay on the ground, watching from the trees. Their fur was rough and red in the last light, their tails full and bushy. They were having fun, hunting and running and chasing their tails, yipping in those orange-spiral sounds. Absolutely wonderful to watch. A dog barked, and they disappeared into the scraggly trees along the creek, the sad bit of home they have left now.

    What can you do with something so admirable from a distance and so dangerous at close range?

    Labels: , ,

    15 people left me a love letter:

    Blogger ms chica wrote in a love letter...

    Some start by dating them, then *try* to rehabilitate them.

    It sounds like the unfortunate consequence of urban encroachment. Deer, coyotes, and raccoons were not meant to reside in the suburbs.

    wow! nice handle.

    5:49 PM, December 11, 2008  
    Blogger Irrelephant wrote in a love letter...

    Remind me to never arm-wrestle you.

    I was grumbling under my breath a few frozen nights ago about having to trudge out to the chicken house to secure said birds. Halfway there I hear a train horn at the crossing several miles across bayou and field, and I stopped for a moment, smiling, and listened to it's long-long-short-long call, and the rush and rumble of steel wheels.

    Then the foxes denned on the bayou heard it, and started howling with it. The whole night was suddenly full of barks and yips and howls and under it all was that mechanical sound that set them to joyously responding.

    I don't bitch about going to the chicken house anymore, after that gift.

    Excellent post. *S* Thank you!

    5:59 PM, December 11, 2008  
    Blogger Maggie wrote in a love letter...

    Man you are one scary woman.

    It's sad isn't it? They probably wouldn't even come close and get dangerous to us had they enough space to live as they ought to.

    It really saddened me when Nevada gave in to the developers and let them start building closer and closer to Red Rock - one of the few wonderfully beautiful places in that desert. Now they are going to drive off all that wildlife - wild donkeys, foxes, lizards so much even in the desert. Sigh, when will we ever learn?

    4:14 AM, December 12, 2008  
    Blogger Gordo wrote in a love letter...

    Boy, a combination of strength and those nails could be deadly. ;-)

    The assortment of wildlife is one of the things that I treasure the most about our family cottage: deer, several dozen bird species and a resident pack of coyotes. The howling symphony is wonderful and chilling to listen to.

    8:28 AM, December 12, 2008  
    Blogger Clowncar wrote in a love letter...

    In a steel cage match between you and a pack of coyotes, I'd put my money on you.

    Dogs and coyotes interbreed? You talk of "stock obviously threaded with dog blood." Are the offspring sterile?

    12:38 PM, December 12, 2008  
    Blogger meno wrote in a love letter...

    Wild things, they make my heart sing.

    Wow, remind me never to shake hands with you, you are fearsome.

    2:24 PM, December 12, 2008  
    Blogger Scott from Oregon wrote in a love letter...

    We have coyotes that run along our creek in the summertime. At night, they get to singing which gets the neighbors kennel full of indigenous American dogs singing and then my dogs come in and hide...

    The worst kind of dogs are wild/tame crosses. They have less fear of humans and are apt to end up getting in more trouble...

    10:25 AM, December 13, 2008  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    When you said you'd pulled the handle off, I was picturing loose screws and pulling them out. I had no idea that you shredded the plastic!!

    You really are a superhero. Small but mighty!

    12:27 PM, December 13, 2008  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    Been there, done that got the police report to prove it, Chica. Yup, the wildlife is looking into timeshares around here.

    That's what Stallone told me once, Ir. *whistling 'Meet Me Halfway* What a wonderful gift from the foxes!

    I don't think we WILL learn, Maggie. What a shame about Red Rock.

    I can also climb trees and fend off predators, Gordo. *s* I love listening to them off in the distance, just not so close to my doggie!

    Thecan interbreed, Clowncar. I guess it _doesn't_ lead to sterility. These guys are BIG.

    I prefer hugs anyway, Meno. *s*

    Exactly, Scott. They have almost no fear. This was the closest they'd ever come to the house.

    That's METAL, Schmoop! And thank you. *s*

    1:04 PM, December 13, 2008  
    Blogger Cheesy wrote in a love letter...

    I love to listen to the coyotes at night... such a mournful sound. But I do worry about my kitties... the dogs not so much as they are huge. 45 pounds?? Cripes they grow um big there! Love the manicure you ginger headed super hero you!

    11:26 AM, December 14, 2008  
    Blogger Cheesy wrote in a love letter...

    [might be time for a doglette run for little Sam!] Keep my buddy safe!

    11:27 AM, December 14, 2008  
    Blogger Bud wrote in a love letter...

    Your migraine situation scares me, girl!

    You didn't even break your nails while pulling the door handle off! Impressive.

    I used to love seeing the bobcats and the very occasional panther around here but I guess they threatened too many little yapping poodles and were removed. They do the same with the gators for the same reason and now we're over run by whistling ducks. Annoying night singers and far too many of them. I don't tend to harbor regret or guilt but I have to admit, I'd never have moved to this location if I knew we'd be fucking up the natural ecology so radically. Humans are like a cancer on this planet.

    7:39 AM, December 21, 2008  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    Happy Christmas Pants! Love you :)

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