the woods and hills on either side of me are home to a pack of coyotes. i woke up at 3:30 the other morning to their howling and woofing and frenzy. i sat by the window for a few minutes and listened. it was a cold night and i'm sure they were happy to eat. the noise they make when they've made a kill is mesmerizing. i almost feel i'm there in the dark forest or in a clearing. i imagine how they corner an animal, closing in on it. after reading books about how brutal it can be for deer to make it through the winter, especially the weak, the old and the young, i feel a heaviness. still, when i imagine the scene it's the coyote's mind i inhabit.
there's a stray cat living here named socrates. food and water are left for him on the porch but he spends even the coldest nights outdoors. he's got a stump for a tail and he's surprisingly chubby for his scrappy lifestyle. i wondered if the coyotes had finally gotten him but just now i saw him dart across the driveway.