I came home from a day of teaching grade eight social studies (Yes…sometimes I am a guest teacher! Yesterday I watched, four times over, a late 90s film on Latitude and Longitude. I feel now that I’ve learned a lot that I hadn’t previously learned in my own schooling. I often feel that way about teaching. I’m going to have to remember to ask my brother who is in the Canadian Navy more about a sextant though. In fact, I’d like to hold a sextant in my hands because then I truly think it will make more sense. I’m amazed really, thinking about the early nautical travelers, setting out onto the ocean, not REALLY able to sort out where they were. Huge risk, I say! But…this has been a digression, yet again!)
When I arrived home from teaching yesterday, my entire front yard was covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Clearly, there was a footprint-story to be told in the crisp white surface. There were no people-prints adjacent, so I excluded the possibility of these being those of a domesticated canine; however, I am open to the possibility that they were left by a run-away dog. James R. Page does a far more professional job of taking photos of tracks in winter-snow! I noticed that the footprints circled the place where my birdfeeder used to lose much seed to the ground. (The seed does not fall to the ground here anymore because I have attached a beautiful tray so as to not attract predators. Now, the birds do not even feed here anymore! I jest…there are two neighbourhood chickadees and a couple of finches that are brave enough to tackle the new physical dynamic. The sparrows line the branches of my front-yard tree and look down, longingly, at the mother-load.)
The footprints. I have left the autumn vegetation in my gardens as protective structure for the jack rabbits that hang about all winter. It may be that my visitor to the front yard was looking for sustenance (bunny) on the wintry day. So, here are my suspicions. I think that Wiley is still out there! Yes, our neighbourhood has its own coyote, a male that comes up from the Fish Creek and hangs out in our neighbourhood park. Recently, I believed that we had lost Wiley. He has, at least three times, stalked Max and I back to my front doorstep. In fact, one morning at about 4:00 a.m. Max made a huge commotion and charged up the stairs to the front window. I followed, alarmed. There, on my front doorstep, was Wiley, munching enthusiastically into some sort of flesh. At Max’s reaction, the coyote, nonchalantly, made his way down the street, with ears and body of his prey dangling out of either side of his face. The last time I made a visual siting though, Wiley was sporting some sort of facial wound. He looked emaciated and generally, not well. It’s been a couple of months and still, no Wiley. Until yesterday?