No doubt, autumn is overtaking our world. This morning, I had my first sunrise breakfast since springtime. It's not that my breakfast has inched earlier - rather, sunrise is getting late.
As I drank my coffee with the sky afire, the coyote pack started howling. K ran to the deck railing in alarm. Our coyote pack currently sounds like it has 20 members howling and yipping together. But, I know that their voices are deceptive - I've seen three coyotes singing but they've sounded like at least a dozen. I hope that I get to see the pack sometime soon to get an idea of how big it is!
Then, K and I headed out for a ride with K in a close heel to prevent any coyote tricksters from luring her into a dangerous chase. A dog owner recently told me that she thought that we needed to "cull" the coyote pack. They'd tried to take one of her small dogs by using their patented technique of having one playful-looking coyote lure the dog into the woods where the rest of the coyote pack is waiting. While I certainly understood how upset and fearful she felt after nearly losing one of her dogs, I didn't agree with her "solution". I think that I talked her down to a more reasonable stance... but I'm shocked by how quickly humans turn to killing wildlife as a solution rather than learning to keep their dogs safe. Yes, I know that means that you can't safely "let your dogs out" to roam without supervision. But, that's a small price to pay for the diversity of wildlife that we have here.
This morning, despite my screaming spine, we headed up high to play in the brief flashes of sunshine through the clouds jetting overhead. K gave me a sly look.
We posed together at the top. I finally realized that K has NO motivation to look at a camera propped on a rock. That's why she always looks at me in these photos! My mouth is always open as I smile because I'm telling her to look at the camera. Maybe looking at the camera is a trick that I could teach her.
K has recently resumed an old game - she hides so that I'll call her. Because recalls are SO fun, she tries to force me to call her by disappearing into the brush. Her hiding place in the photo below was not one of her most challenging!
I try to find other ways to draw her out to avoid encouraging her hiding game. If I do a recall, it's the biggest reward that I could possibly give her for hiding. However, as I stand in the forest alone trying to cajole K out of hiding, I get visions of the photographs that I've captured of our mighty predators near our trails and give into the urge to call!
As we rode, we spotted a weathered butterfly on his last wings. I think that he was a Black Swallowtail.
I lifted the aging beauty onto a fading blossom before leaving him in peace. Most butterflies live such brief lives, weeks at most. Whenever I see one fluttering next to me on my bike, I think that they're so courageous, living so beautifully but so briefly.
I think that there's a lesson in a butterfly's life for me.