I went to bed last night after loading my pictures for this morning. But I had no words in my head. I looked at the writing book that sits beside the bed, it’s pen at the ready, then reached past it for the reading book instead.
I remember as a kid my Mother asking my Father if he had any work coming. Dad had his own business and a family of Eight. Dad gulped at his coffee, shook the newspaper straight and said don’t worry something always comes through the door. He had work until Friday that would do for today. I remember listening to this low conversation and being incredibly comforted by his absolute surety that something would turn up. It was the essence of hope, the part of hope that just knows. It was one of those tremendous windows of knowledge that open in the mind of a child and never close. That the worrying would not help, the panic would change nothing. And something always did come through his big workshop doors. And I always find the words.
So when I went to sleep last night trying to tie a sentence to Daisy’s intense dislike of a manure heap growing too close to her front door, I was not worrying. It really is not as close as it looks. She is just looking for a conversation.
In the night I always get up about midnight and stoke the fire. It is our only heating so it needs to be kept burning. Last night, as I passed, I opened the garden door for TonTon to go out for his usual midnight constitutional.
Look at this Poor Peghorn, he stood in something yucky. He and his brood had been ranging far out into the melting fields again and when they came in they were all wearing thick mud boots. It makes them throw their feet out to the side, with a tiny confused shake as they walk. I know it is unkind to laugh. But last night when I opened the door and after Ton had taken three steps outside with his four feet, we were hit with a blast of howling. Coyotes lit up the night with their piercing calls. TonTon already on the steps outside the French Doors froze and very slowly and with the utmost care REVERSED back through the door. Placing his feet back into his own footsteps, slowly, slowly backing into the room. His bottom leading his head he stepped gingerly around and returned his body to his bed. He sat back down, still facing out and said clear as a bell. Never mind. I’ll hold it! I don’t really need to go anyway. Hairy MacLairy was pretending to Be a tree yesterday so someone would think his field was empty and leave the gate open or maybe he is attempting to climb into the tree, but whichever way we look at it – he is intent upon escape.
Maybe the coyotes just want to be friends I said to TonTon. He raised his eyes, slumped down with a thud and made like a snail. Asleep within seconds he was probably dreaming about this rooster standing on the cat table, on the verandah, brassy as all get out. Tonton was given permission to move him along, which he was more than happy to do.
The coyotes howled more insistently from outside the door. Dogs on the move. They must have been at the creek passing through. I shut the door and the sound was cut off. But a sound like that, when it is a snippet, resonates into your minds eye. The soundtrack bounces up like an outdoor movie onto the inside of your skull. I looked at it, hit pause and counted the howls and different voices. When they cry out in a pack like that you can hear each seperate call. This was a small string quartet of discordant yet perfectly pitched sound. Each instrument though blended was quite seperate from the others. I loaded the fire with wood and wondered if one older coyote was the conducter, bringing each voice in, teasing the sounds out, howling them up and down the scale, some held in a stacatto yapping rhythm, while another is sent into a swoop upwards, while his brother is directed to slide his voice down a canine keyboard. Then with a slow dip of his head the conductor lulls them back down into a sirens murmur as they begin to move across the landscape. The percussion section of paws building a bridge.
Until their uneducated, unappreciative neighbour in the unlit house sticks her head out the window into the night and yells “Do you Mind!? Some of us are trying to sleep!”
Philistines the conductor mutters. Stowing his baton back in its box.