K and I rolled out early, before the coyote shown above passed the camera, into a couple of inches of fresh snow. We saw the sunrise but the world didn't brighten much until the sun arced high into the cloud bank to our east.
Within about 20 yards of following tracks and continuing to try to yell with a nonexistent voice, I saw the coyote tracks go one way and K's tracks make a U-turn back toward where she'd started. I turned around, and she emerged from behind a bushy pine tree.
The tracks told the story. K hadn't followed the coyotes for more than a few yards and had immediately heeded my call. But, probably because I sounded so completely freaked out, she didn't come to me. Instead, she stood still, silently watching me, hidden behind a tree.
When I saw her, I first felt a veritable tidal wave of relief. Soon, however, I felt another surge of adrenaline as I looked at this dog who I love with all my heart. The adrenaline brought anger with it - anger at the coyotes and anger at K for hiding from me. I managed to suppress it... and just be grateful that my girl had actually obeyed me and hadn't chased the coyote pack.
Soon, we were on our way again, with K in a tight heel next to my bike. As we restarted, K expressed an interest in the coyote tracks left behind by the encounter, causing me to start to become apoplectic again. I tried to keep the fear and tension out of my voice as I reminded her to heel.
As I look back on the coyote encounter, I think that it was an accidental crossing of paths. K and I were silent so the coyotes didn't know that we stood in their path. The entire pack approached us as if they were on a beeline to their next destination. As soon as the coyotes spotted us, they fled, with no luring behavior or other shenanigans. So, as I mull it over, I don't blame anyone, except maybe myself, for freaking out so much that K was afraid to come to me. But, no harm came from that mistake aside from a couple of minutes of intense fear, and I learned my lesson. I need to sound more composed in emergencies, for K's sake.
For probably the first time ever, I felt relieved to lock K into the safety of our house and head out solo on my bike. It wasn't great riding due to the sloppy layer of spring snow that the sun was rapidly transforming to slush.
But, the sky was gloriously blue, and more signs of spring caught my eye. The buds on willows lining a stream had burst into furry catkins since I passed them yesterday.
Most of all, I am thankful that my K is safe and sound, ready to enjoy spring with me.