We've been watching for coyotes for several weeks now, ever since a rainy ride with my mom was cut short by a mama coyote barking and howling and following us down the mountain. Then last week as I was leaving, a huge specimen cut across the driveway right in front of me all catch-me-if-you-can. This isn't my photo (in fact it's a photo of a coyote in California), but this is how they look when they're slinking around, bouncy with little shocks in their feet. Taller than the dog, and faster. I'm not sure what they would do to me and the horse, but I know what they'd try to do to the dog, so I'm trying to stay clear.
The grass at the farm is very high now, so high that the pup is lost in a field, only visible as that rustling up ahead. Coyotes can get lost in this grass, too, invisible until you spot them and can't look away. Yesterday I rode alone in the only field where cows aren't allowed. We call it the hay field for obvious reasons. Josh and I made a little river in the grass-scape, parting the stalks, and Grady wove a smaller creek beside and around us. Josh loves this season, of the grass buffet, when he can bend over every few strides and strip the grasses of their crunchy heads in the middle of his workout. My friend Gillian always says it would be like walking into a field of french fries, growing wild. Taking all that pollen head on, the dog kept sneezing and scaring the horse, but we were making our way.
In the far corner of the field I saw something soft and brown rustle and stand up stock-still, looking our way. The whole ride I was thinking "coyote, coyote, coyote?" in time with my posting trot, but no, this was a fresh baby deer (what we call a "Bambi"), looking at us with huge ears and wet eyes. No bigger than a coyote. In a moment the deer turned and leap, leap, leapt over the coop at the end of the field and into the next one (the "hill field"), trailing her white tail behind her.
I think all three of us smiled. Grady ran and Joshua picked up on the dog's energy and I let him go, a steady gallop around the end and down the other long side of the field. Happy. Not a coyote but a baby deer.
On the walk back to the barn I saw my first red-winged blackbird of the year. And those are the two crystalline moments from yesterday. Today it's raining, but I hope to get outside this afternoon. I also promise there'll be some crafty content soon!
*Is it just me or does that title sound like it should be a Tony Hillerman novel? Hi, Mom.