Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dodged It!

It's Thursday morning, and it looks like we missed out on the worst of the storm. The road and our driveway look like they've been spray-painted white. Last night, Rich & I took the dogs out during a lull in the sleet, the lights of Charleston were orange to the northwest (it's at night that those seven miles to town feel a real distance) and we could hear the cows at the end of our road mowing, first low, and then with more urgency. We could also hear the howling of coyotes. It is such a singular sound, pure animal. Mournful. Chiquita, the chihuahua-dachshund mix went in with Rich, leaving me with the two boy-dogs. They were mostly just playing in the snow, and I was enjoying the sound of the rain hitting the ground. I imagined I could hear it freezing in that first second it hit. I was enjoying looking at the colored Christmas lights, barely moving in the minimal breeze when all three of us heard it, at the end of our driveway: three insistent little yips. Like a puppy, begging to play. Kerouac & Happy, the boy-dogs, both froze, ears up, tails straight, and then turned and ran to the door. I followed, obediently. I didn't have the flashlight, but knew there was at least one coyote there, looking for an easy meal.

Monday night we had all three dogs out, and had been out for a few minutes, when Rich heard, from behind him, the rustling of a large animal running away from us, back into the brush towards the pond. It scared him (I didn't hear it, unfortunately.) He figured that a deer must have been grazing right where the lawn meets the woods, and frozen when the five us came oh-so-loudly out the door, only able to make its getaway when we turned away from it. We both know that deer are the largest mammals around, but I know that I often think of bear (you can't take the Colorado out of me so easily!). In the morning I went out and easily found the prints of a deer, giving Rich's version of the story reality. It is amazing to me that all of this wildlife action occurs within the space of our yard! We can walk into the woods, following very active deer trails, leading us to the pond and to Hurricane Creek (and even over it). And beyond mammals, there are the birds... This morning while taking the dogs around for their morning exercise, there were about a dozen birds (two cardinals and the rest black birds of some kind) darting in and out of the barren pine trees and the bushes along the front porch. They seemed to be unconcerned by the dogs. I'm sure I'll talk a lot about the birds. They are one of the joys of living here in the country. Thanks for reading, and if you're around Hutton Township tonight, stop on in for a cocktail!

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