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December 28th, 2003

yip

We took a walk near our neighborhood. The lawns on the greens near the Twin Creeks Trail were a mild yellow, in that way that winter-frozen greens can become. We saw birds everywhere, including the red cardinal.

As we neared the Boyle Farm, that oasis of tradition in the tract home modernity which is our neighborhood of Glendover Park, we began to hear a coyote calling. He would say his "yip, yip, yip" in a loud, plaintive voice. We soon could see him in a field at the farm, standing his ground and baying out his cry. The neighborhood dogs, lodged securely behind brown fences, made responding barks and yelps, ready to defend their ground against this distant intruder.

We kept walking beside the farm, giving us a better view of the coyote in the open field, yelling his head off. I worried that he had been trapped by some metal trap, which in my mind had been permitted to the farmer as a varmint dispensation by the licensing powers that be. But as we stood at the fence, he spotted us, and stopped his yelling, and calmly walked into the woods beside the field.

I love the memory of his call--not a whine or a bark or a
baying at the moon, but a hoarse yipping, into the ether.
The moon was not yet out. The sun set blood red through purple clouds.