When I took Waldo out this morning, we were both surprised to see a coyote nonchalantly walking across our meadow. Although we’ve seen a number of coyotes since we’ve moved to the National Park, today’s encounter was special.
Ohio coyotes are different from the Southwestern variety. They are larger, for one thing, and their coloring ranges from black to tan. There’s been some speculation as to whether or not they share wolf blood, like the coyotes of New England and Canada. The one we saw today was gorgeous. It was gray, tan and white; long and graceful with a wolfish face mask and a full brush tail. Waldo couldn’t contain his excitement more than a few moments, and he barked sharply at the intruder, drawing the coyote’s attention to us.
The coyote set out immediately for the high grass of the meadow and soon disappeared from our line of sight, but then we were treated to an extraordinary display. As the coyote traversed the high grass of our meadow from west to east, it leapt straight up into the air at approximately fifteen foot intervals to espy us. While Waldo tipped his head to one side and boggled at this odd behavior, I watched, astonished by the coyote’s athleticism. It leapt straight up into the air as though it were weightless. As though it had springs in its rear paws.
Soon it had reached the edge of the forest and smiling about what I’d just seen, I turned back to the task at hand, of getting Waldo to take care of his morning business. But Waldo was quickly distracted by movement to our east, which was the coyote, that had turned north in the woods and reappeared just behind our shed, much closer to our yard and intently focused on the two of us, no more than 25 yards away. The coyote continued to move north, leaping over brush and fallen logs in an agile display, glancing back at us as it made its journey. It was graceful and light on its feet, as if performing a wild coyote ballet, but it’s closer reappearance had unnerved me, and I found myself scanning the trees worriedly on each side of us until I could shepherd Waldo safely back inside.
I wonder how things would have played out if I’d been out with the four little dogs, instead of our massive boy.