When our Daylight Savings Time-delayed dawn finally began around 8 this morning, I was relieved to find fog and an overcast sky. The kaleidoscopic brilliance of the last couple of weeks gets to be too much. By mid-October, I want to begin to settle in. I've already grown the extra-thick head of hair I do this time of year. I take out my sweaters. I'm ready to wear socks.
And I head to the woods with a sense of renewed calm. The tourists have gone back to their work-a-day lives, boats have mostly left the great lake, and children are back in school. By 8:05 on a weekday, the dunes–and the road to them–are a hushed place. I am lucky indeed to be able to leave my desk.
Almost immediately, setting off into maples, oaks, sassafras, and hemlocks, and a breezeless mist, I recalled encountering two coyotes in a National Forest outside Seattle. That day was calm and gray, too, but snow-full: feet deep and falling, wet flakes the size of moths. The pair passed across the trail right in front of us. Shadow-like, they did not seem to notice us, shadow-like?, at all, but I have carried them in my memory for 27 years. I think they resurface when I'm near coyotes, though none showed themselves to me today.
I like to think of the family of Canas latrans spreading across North America. I wonder what they make of us.