Our dog, Charlotte Bronte, lies on the back porch in the late afternoon and looks through the ballusters at the yard and pasture beyond, leading down to the creek. Birds chirp. Rabbits move among the grasses and scout the perimeter of the vegetable garden, which is thankfully well fenced.
I, sitting in the rocking chair, whisper: Rabbit, Bronte!
After thirty seconds of this, escalating in volume, she lopes off the porch in the wrong direction.
Nothing has ever been as safe on our premises as those rabbits.
Oops. Maybe not.
After dinner, I stroll out the front door toward the gate to finish carving an entrance arch through the Lady Banks, so visitors won't have an eye poked out. The sun has just disappeared behind the trees and it's still light. Something moves in my peripheral vision. I stop. It moves again and I think: deer.
But no. Not deer.
A large grey and russet furred creature just outside our yard fence stops. He looks at me. I look at him.
Coyote. As big as Bronte, which is large for the local variety. Never seen one here in daylight.
We exchange looks for about ten seconds and then he trots off behind a clump of trees.
And where is the B dog? In the front yard, nose to the ground. Smelling the passage of rabbits, no doubt.