Last night, reading in bed with the windows open, I heard a pack of coyotes yipping 0n the forested hill behind our house. Abandoning my book, I lay with my eyes closed, listening to the way those wild creatures howled, throaty and jagged, as if biting each other’s calls.
Slipping downstairs, I passed my younger daughter’s room where she slept with her friend, the two of them twined in one bed, their breathing a whispery draw and release. I walked out into the Vermont rural dark, so heavy I saw the lights of the neighbors across the road as a handful of pearly light in tree branches. The hydrangeas, fragrant, faintly glowed in my window’s diffuse light. The coyotes cut into the night, two packs in the wooded hill behind the house and garden, the beasts wholly bodiless to me in the night, my heartstrings thrumming with their calls.
This evening, my older daughter returned from walking in the dusk and said the packs were howling again, not down in the valley where we’ve heard them for years, but far closer to our house. I asked if she was afraid. She said, It’s a little scary to hear the coyotes so close, but at the same time, I can’t help listening.
We talked a little about the back and forth calling, the mystery of sound from these hidden creatures, and then she said, It’s beautiful.
We shall not cease from exploration
And then end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
–– T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding