I wake up at 6am each day (barring day-after-late-night-fun occasions), and while that is not the natural inclination for this innate night-owl, it does present some fine opportunities. In fact, I used to go exercise during these early hours, before I started my current job, because it was a great start to the day in an environment that is quite different from the rest of the day. Early in the morning the world is quieter, the air is often crisp, the summer sun is tame and the winter darkness is brisk, and being up and at during the early morning gives the day such an extended feeling.
Early-rising also affords some wonderful wildlife interactions.
Never being fond of warm tea, I considered “fridge tea” as a potential option to still ingest the good-for-you drink without the time-consuming task of waiting for water to boil. I lead a VERY busy life, ya know. So, the other night I took several tea bags and set them in a filled 32oz water bottle, with the intention of drinking 8oz every morning right when I wake up. It’s worked well so far, though I am still not a fan of tea’s taste — regardless of its temperature. Yesterday morning, first thing, I hopped downstairs to grab my morning drink, but as I rounded the corner into my kitchen, something outside caught my eye.
Through the sliding glass door, I spied two coyotes taking a stroll through the bushes on the other side of our backyard fence.
The fence separating our yard from the public hillside below is constructed of simple wire — a series of rounded arches with makeshift netting covering it to keep rabbits out. It stands only a few feet tall and is hardly visible, so I watched these canines walk by, single-file, without much between us — simply a glass door, a light fence, and roughly 10 feet of atmosphere. A huge smile spread across my lips as they passed by entirely unaware of my presence. I stepped closer to the door to get a better look at the coyotes. They were in decent shape — not the fattest I’ve ever seen, but far from scrawny and ragged looking. As the one in the back of the line made its way directly in front of me, I was curious what might happen if I opened the door to get an even more immediate look. Upon hearing the latch, though, the coyote looked right at me and startled, making an about-face and dashing off the way he’d come. The leader was no longer in view, and I assumed he’d just run ahead. “Oh well. Bye, coyotes… that was cool,” I thought to myself. As I aimed towards the refrigerator and my impending unpleasant tea-consumption, though, a slight motion from the shrubbery in our yard caught my attention. The lead coyote was actually IN our yard now. I didn’t even see him jump the fence, but he must have deftly lept in while I was distracted by the second one running away.
I crept up to the corner window to watch what the big pup was up to. And it really was just a big pup… so cute as it stood there obviously looking for a rodent meal. It ears were perked as it lowered its head then back up again, glancing all around itself as if it had JUST put down a pair of scissors but now they’ve mysteriously vanished. I was sure to not spook this one, and just stood there with a dopey smile on my face as I watched the coyote sniff the ground and pant adorably, trading off moods between alert and curious to just-chillin’. For years we have noticed large matted spots in the ivy that grows rampant on our side yard, and I have often heard a creature or two stepping through it on a warm summer night when my window is open, but we’d never caught what it was. We theorized that it might be skunks or opossums, and I presented the possibility of it being a puma (very likely), but now I know who is to blame.
After several moments, and without a food-find, Wile E. stepped back towards our fence and hopped over it with the ease of an adult skipping a crack in the sidewalk. I later read that they can jump/climb fences taller than me, but to see this one just suddenly levitate itself several feet into the air and clear our fence completely was fantastically fun.
And with that, the coyote just strolled along the way it was originally headed, as did I towards the fridge, and while I occasionally hear them howling around my neighborhood or see them crossing neighborhood streets, having one visit me in my own backyard was a pretty awesome experience… one that I certainly wouldn’t mind having again!
Now, if only my tea-drinking was as exciting…