I walk the narrow path along the edge of the lake, through the whiskery sedge and muddy wetland into the beech forest. The indigo sky darkens toward black. Night creatures stir and an owl’s call echoes off the water. I walk on, each footfall sure and deliberate.
I know every hollow and swell of this land. I know how to read the wind. I know the sun and shadow on the water, the yellow greens of spring and dark greens of summer, the scent of a summer storm. I know the phases of the moon.
The humans that share this land with my tribe do not trust us. They call coyotes “tricksters,” but isn’t it they who are prone to taking more than they need, to spoiling the land and water that feeds them, to being far removed from the earth’s rhythms, to sidestepping inconvenient truths? Across the lake I see their house lights reflecting long streaks across the water. I keep my distance from them.
The path meanders upward through a grove of soft grasses, through a white pine forest, over the tumbledown rock walls. I walk on. At the edge of the woods I pause and watch my kin arrive from every direction and converge on the ridge of the hill. Their fur is silver and silhouetted against the rising moon. I join them, touching nose to nose in greeting.
In unison we lift our throats to the sky and begin singing, our voices weaving in and out of each other’s and rising to a crescendo. As the moon rises above the horizon, we sing of summer sun and winter snow, of ancient starlight, of brotherhood. We sing into the wind, our song carrying across the hills. I imagine the humans in the valleys hearing us and sensing something deep and familiar resonating within.
Photos courtesy of Hal Brindley and illustration courtesy of Nixxphotography, freedigitalphotos.net