The footsteps of the wild coyotes grew closer and we could hear the rapid breaths of each canine. Both of my terriers, no bigger than a stepping stool hugged my legs as we hurried forward towards the car. And then silence… the only noise was the warm summer breeze brushing through our bodies. The brush swaying in the wind like a bunch of ballerinas dancing in sync. We kept walking, curious to why the noise of the Coyotes came to an end. But there was an eerie feeling that we all felt. Like we were still being watched. Not just by the coyotes, but by the mountain itself.
It felt unnatural. My dogs, with their eyes on wide alert, were terrified by the strange events. But we could not stop, we needed to get back to the car. So we walked, or should I say jogged. The eerie quietness did not disappear, it remained with us for every step that we took. The sky was no longer orange but now a dark grey with blue clouds, a brushstroke of colors that I have never seen before in these skies. A warning maybe? Did we belong here? Everything in my gut was telling me that this was not a place that I belonged at, but was home to another power in the likes that I cannot explain.
I thought to myself: Why is this taking so long! In this dark twilight, time stood still. Just then I heard more moving in the brush. Several long bushy tails peeked out of the grass. The coyotes were back! Or maybe they never left. This time they stayed further back by 20 meters, but they were still following us…. Or were they escorting us?
After what seemed to be forever, I could finally see my car on the small dirt cliff overlooking the dry riverbed! I made it out of the brush and that is where our journey with the coyote pack ends. But before I went up the dirt hill, I turned around and I saw one particularly large coyote looking at me. He was close enough for me to see the fine details of his face. The piecing brown eyes of a predator but the coloring of a work of art. I made eye contact with this coyote for what seemed to be a lifetime, or multiple lifetimes, when in reality it was around 10 seconds. There was a sense of understanding between us. Or maybe I’m just superstitious. Something in the coyote’s eyes and face told me, “We got you out of here, but don’t come back”.
I turned back around and walked back to my car. I opened the door and to the relief of my dogs, their bed was still on the backseat. Maybe they could sleep this encounter off and rule it as a nightmare? Not me. For me, this was an experience that I will never forget. The day I found the soul of the wilderness.