Put yourself in the following scenario: You are on top of a hill on a cool, calm, perfectly clear night, with a telescope, a star chart, a red-light flashlight and maybe a snack. The air is still, but comfortable. The views in the telescope are fine, not perfect, but fine, and you go to the list of challenge objects for the evening to focus on some objects in the sky to tick off on a bucket list. It is early morning, and there is no moon in the sky.

The still is shattered by the noise in that video. At this exact moment, your primal instinctive brain screams "YOU ARE A PART OF THE FOOD CHAIN" and starts the heart racing, the fight or flight instincts shut off the rational brain and you start fingering your sidearm. You hear the cries to your left... and a few seconds later to your right. The cries grow in number; there must be dozens of cyotes out there, and the hair on the back of your neck is screaming at you: THEY ARE WATCHING YOU!

For ten minutes, cries from the left, replies from the right, getting closer and closer. You try to count how many different voices you hear, to force that logical frontal cortex to take charge from the lizard/mouse/prey part of your brain. Now you hear a third group. You reach down and unhook the clasps on your holster, find your extra magazine, and hope that your dark adaptation and eyesight are up to the task of spotting the pack so you can look threatening before they sneak up on you. Your brain is going off the fucking rails... you are all alone and that noise is a part of the human programing that says DANGER! RUN! FEAR! Other than the sounds of the baying cyotes, there are no sounds. nothing is moving in the treeline, nothing is moving overhead, the local farm animals are all dead silent. Even the horses that you heard earlier that evening are dead quiet. And the three groups keep calling to one another.

Then, silence. Dead, terrible, silence. The ancient programing is now in full on YOU IS GONNA DIE OUT HERE; the frontal lobe starts scanning, smelling, trying to listen and carefully as possible for any movement, any sign of if you are a target. Fear, real ancient fear, the kind of emotion most of us will never experience in the safety of civilization, is fighting to win out over observation, planning. It feels like a million seconds where the heart is pounding, the legs are ready to bolt, and your shoulders sag from the weight of the quiet. Minutes go by. Hell it may have been a half hour, full on alertness, listening, looking, ready to fight.

Then the silence breaks with more yips and howls. The same animals it sounds like, but they have moved closer together. No longer to the left or right with you in the center, but off closer to the third group. The nights viewing is over, time to pack up the car and head home after calming down. Coyotes are fascinating, lovely animals with a bad rep. But that yipping and howling, man.

posted by user-inactivated: 477 days ago