Monday, July 20, 2009

20 July 2009

A pale sickle clings to the bottom of a black orb. A veil of clouds shrouds the blushing horizon. It is possibly one of the quietest mornings of the summer, only the whip-poor-will sings in the distance.
It is quite dark, and my mind wanders to a similar morning ten years ago when I was startled from my concentration by two coyotes down the trail. It was clear they saw my approach and alerted everyone. The coyote's bark is one that is very different from a domestic dog. There is clearly urgency and fear in the coyote's voice.
The grasses are long, and I cannot walk in silence. And then I hear him: woof, woof. First low and quiet as if he's unsure of himself. I stop, turn on the camera and record the panic of barking to come. I can see his white chest only 30 yards or so down the trail. He's frantically trying to communicate danger to someone. After about 5 minutes he disappears in the shrubs nearby. I take the opportunity to set the camera down, point the microphone in the right direction, and pull my hood over my face to mask my white skin. He continues on and on--complaining of my presence.
His absence gives me an opportunity. I advance and force the tripod legs into the bramble. The tiniest bit of light breaks through the darkness. I can see three times as far now. As I settle in, he reappears on the trail: barking, barking, barking. But he does not see me, and he cannot smell me either. He advances, trying to ascertain where I've disappeared. Up over the ridge? No. Further still? No. Closer? Yes, but where?
His show goes on for about 40 minutes, until he finally gives up with a final two barks.

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