We're at Bluffs Park, the dogs and I, early enough to be the first and only humans there on a holiday Monday. It's beautiful, hushed and foggy, with a tiny, briny breeze. We're walking deep in the brush when suddenly, there's a coyote.
And then Maisie's racing and Jake is jogging and instead of vanishing, as coyotes do when they want to run away, this one's romping. He's frolicking. He's cavorting. And it makes Maisie a little nuts and she runs faster and the three of them, Jake and Maisie and the coyote, they vanish.
I'm calling the dogs back, of course, and maybe something about the coyote's goofiness seems off to the dogs because shockingly, they come back. I leash them and we keep walking, walking to the edge where the bluff drops down and there's the sea and you can see all the way to infinity.
Perfect. A perfect way to start the day and we turn off on a little path, headed for the long way back to the car and there he is, the coyote, cutting us off. So we head the other way and there's a coyote, cutting us off.
We head back the way we came and the coyote tracks us, trots just a hair faster then we do, and he's tall and long and lean and his ears prick forward and he's gaining on us. So I do that thing where you raise your arms to look big and I speak in a deep (well, for me) voice and say bad words and order him away and he's all, "Dude, you're not serious?"
I've read about coyotes who playfully lure little dogs to their dens and their deaths and, urban legend or not, Maisie is a tender little morsel, so we all keep trotting. Eventually we're alone again there in the brush, all in one piece, with just a tree filled with jostling crows as witnesses.
And while it was exciting and alarming and way more stimulating than a triple-shot latte, I couldn't help notice that the whole time, I kept wishing I'd brought the good camera with the really long lens.