Coyote

“The coyotes roamed the edges of the neighborhood at dawn and dusk, big eared, serene, drawn tight as bow strings. Coyotes love to trick domestic dogs, to play with them and draw them away from their yard and out into the hills, where they then set upon them as a pack, kill and eat them.”

–Cameron Mackenzie, Cutbank Weekly Flash Prose

The heat pump register bangs, laboring to filter and deliver warm air against condensing fog, heavy morning mist. It may burn off by noon, or not at all. Sometimes we don’t see the sky for days, with rain and fog and full-spectrum gray from dove to doe. Sink down in the loam like locust backing into the earth to wait. Dread, over the left shoulder and behind, yet looming ahead.

This is not the season for the hopeful. They come in the summer, go to school, fall in love, find a job, and stay. When the light drains away and freezing fog fills the valley for days, they ask how long it will last. When a far line of sight is blocked, the only view is inward down to the bone.

I once hired a brilliant network engineer named Jonathan. He moved here from the mid-west with his girlfriend after she was accepted into a graduate program. Get the best rain gear you can afford, I advised, walk outside every day; get candles if you don’t have a fireplace, grind spices for tea and bathe in the vapor. Jonathan lasted until early December. He apologized, and I argued, but he had to leave he said, else he would hang himself.

Solace of apples, perhaps the same alchemy that extracts antivenin from venom, the honeycrisp as cure. Core and chop the fruit to simmer down to chunky sauce, spike with cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat a cup of amontillado to a near-boil and soak red flame raisins to plump. Mix a muffin batter with applesauce and raisins. Give away the batch to those who politely refused the crisp imperfect apples from the tree.

Temporary measures, taken in sequence, become strategy.

 

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea worked as a System Analyst for 25 years building out the internet of things before returning to letters in 2017. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay competition, Treefort Wild West Writing Prize, and was awarded runner-up in Cutbank short prose contest; her work was short-listed for Proximity Magazine's Essay Prize and the Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Contest. Prose appears in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Thoughtfuldog, and Watershed Review. Kim lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she wrangles her Labrador in the rain. Unless otherwise credited, all photographs and images on this site are the original work of the author who retains all rights to their use .

9 thoughts on “Coyote”

  1. Bull’s eye, or “bingo!,” whichever you prefer. The crack of the billiard balls scattering and dropping in holes. The gray, looming behind and ahead. Cuddle up buttercup, it’s about to get interesting around here! Love it!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I haven’t seen it but can picture that. Worse, I’ve heard them do that while I was in a tent and I think the sound is far worse, that high-pitched yipping. Cult-like and feral.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Is that true about coyotes? Maybe of some humans as well… gave me chills.

    Loved this so much, seemed to epitomize all: “Get the best rain gear you can afford, I advised, walk outside every day; get candles if you don’t have a fireplace, grind spices for tea and bathe in the vapor. Jonathan lasted until early December. He apologized, and I argued, but he had to leave he said, else he would hang himself.”

    Now I have to remember/figure out where you live. Going to visit the front-end of your blog (I’m here via WP Reader view) to see about the about page.

    It can get pretty dreary here in winters too, but not much rain, and no coyotes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah ok! Maybe this explains why the landscape of our bones, to me at least, feels a bit the same or copacetic. I’m originally from Pacific southwest Canada, not far from you. More bears and deer than coyotes there, but still a few of the latter. “Wild, wild turkeys, couldn’t drag me away… 🎶”

        Liked by 1 person

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