I'm one of those people who can't go back to sleep once I've awaken. And so tonight, just 45 minutes after first nodding off, I'm up in my office answering emails and perusing knitting patterns.
What woke me? Zac got home and did three things: he dished up a big bowl of our friend Cindy's fought-over fettucine, he popped in a DVD, and he let Larry out. Just as the microwave dinged, Larry took to howling right outside our bedroom window. Where else would he go to make noise?
I awoke hopeful. I'm optimistic that way. Deep down, though, I knew the truth. I knew my sheets and pillowcase would be long gone cold before I hit them again. But the Pollyanna on the surface said, "You'll just shoot out there, ask Zac nicely to turn down his movie and let the dog back in, and hop right back in bed."
I did all that. And as usual, Pollyanna was wrong. Though I tried, I couldn't shut out the sounds of the night. The clink of Zac's fork against his plate didn't bother me--not even when that clink turned into scraping as he endeavored to collect every last atom of Cindy's sauce. And the murmuring of his movie could have been ignored. What kept my eyes scanning the dark outlines of my bedroom were the sounds of maniacal howling down on the trail below our house.
Those coyotes are running again tonight.
We've been spotting them all week. One ran across the driveway as I was heading out a few nights ago. My headlights bounced off his scrawny torso as he leapt into the bushes. Another watched me with open nonchalance from the neighbor's pasture as I drove back home. When Tera, Dave and I went out for a long walk yesterday, we spotted another skirting the edge of the woods on the trail. And now tonight, the gang has regrouped for a night of mayhem. Their cries are the sounds of a gathering storm.
My opinion of those critters hasn't changed, nor has my reaction to their middle-of-the-night partying. They still make me shiver. But I discovered that the sound of my laptop's fan and the mindlessness of Spider Solitaire helps to drown out the memory of those raucusy cries. I think I'll stay up here just a bit longer ... long enough for the woods to absorb those 2:00 a.m. echoes.