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Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Story ID:8046
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Broken Tree Montana USA
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Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Forgive Us Our Trespasses
by Kathe Campbell

Yow_____, yip yip yelp, and yi-yi-yi's echoing across our mountain breaking the lull of the evening. Ears erect, Corky jumps to attention, focusing and sniffing the air as our springtide fades into pinkish skies sinking through the Douglas firs.

My Keeshond spots a pair of canines out in the open beyond the east pasture the following day. Scraggly and thin, they're obsessed with snuffling gopher holes. Taking offense to all strangers infringing upon his territory, Cork begins a low rumble before hightailing it out to defend home and hearth. Closing in on the pair and catching a whiff of wild, he fairly catapults home with ears flat and tail at half-mast. Another word is added to my pal's glossary of unwelcome visitors -- coyote.

Do we trespass upon God's creations, or do they trespass upon us? Up here on my Montana crest, the crafty varmints have rendered domestic felines and wild cottontails endangered species. After thirty-three years on these pristine acres, this is the first time Wile E. Coyote is making our neck of the woods his domain.

These shifty wild dogs will eat almost anything -- rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, even deer, as well as insects, grass, carrion, and our beloved pets. They're formidable in the field with keen vision and a strong sense of smell, running up to 40 miles an hour and jumping 13 feet. Forming strong family groups, in spring the females den and give birth up to a dozen pups while both parents feed and protect the young and their territory. While the mother tends to the babes, will the persistent father find a squirrel or gopher to share? Or worse, one of my kitties as he lingers nearby, watching and waiting -- on Mother' Day no less.

We hear their bays mostly at dusk, or at night during mating season. When the alpha coyote calls the pack together, it howls one high note. When the pack is together, it howls even higher with a yip and yelp and shrill yi-yi-yi sounds. Their caterwauling is unnerving and even bloodcurdling, but Corky's repertoire of scents tells me when they're near. He will bravely chase one off, but never a pair. Smart dog!

After tearfully watching two of my neighbor's beloved kitties overpowered and quashed by the thugs, I decided it was time to pack heat. I kept loaded .22's and air horns on the decks, creating threatening clamor by shooting over their heads, but the blasts haven't phased them. Coyotes and foxes brazenly wander through here with noses pressed to the ground, owning everything and all who uneasily abide. My biggest jackass chased them off in his day, but now it's up to me and Cork to protect the last old donkey who persists on sleeping out near the graves of her family. At thirty-two she has few defenses.

My eight-year-old Spook came to me as a neutered rescue kitten. Coal-black, yellow-eyed and funny elongated eye teeth, he's the ultimate Halloween feline. Sorrowfully, I resigned myself to his demise by some hungry brute after he went missing for ten days. But he miraculously turned up, barely staggering through the doggy door. Rushing to his side to welcome him home, I touched his back and was met with a painful yowl. Unable to spot his injury, I wrapped him in a towel, laid him in the kitty crate, and off we went to our veterinarian.

Shaving away Spook's thick hair along his back, the vet found two large and badly abscessed coyote bites. A couple days in the hospital on antibiotics, Spook came home for his lengthy recoup, and a big hole in my foxy pocket. Happily, he and our yellow female have decided to be house cats. They warily come out onto the decks with me or Corky, both choosing accustomed outdoor antics by dogging my footsteps at chore time.

I have trespassed upon a resplendent forest and it's creatures, many showing off their newborns mere feet from my perch. As a proud mountaineer, I didn't inherit this land from ancestors, I borrow it from my children. And though I encroach, I obey the order of things, and I do it well. I would feel more optimistic about her future if we spent less time trying to outwit Mother Nature, and more time teaching others to taste her sweetness and respect her seniority.

So, forgive us our trespasses on your masterpiece, Lord, as we shield our beloved companions, for what are we without our wildlife friends? If they were gone we would surely die from a woeful loneliness of spirit, because whatever happens to them will soon happen to us. We are all connected, except for those pesky coyotes.