Serving up ritual

We all develop habit patterns that make a routine out of potentially uncomfortable tasks. One of my habits is to get up early—usually between 4:00 and 5:00 am—let the dogs out, feed them, and then bring coffee to my wife.

I had just sat down on the front porch to watch the sunrise when a distant baying permeated the northwest quadrant of my senses, a banshee-like screeching in unison that spoke to an innate wildness. Coyotes.

For those who have not heard coyotes before, they can sound disturbingly human. At first, these feral canines promote the imagery of dozens of dispossessed souls howling at first light, unable to go home. But with patient understanding, my vision of them softens to a child’s unrestrained romp of wilderness-play, of an unrefined version of the grace within ourselves that laments and celebrates life’s most intense illusions.

The auditory theater shook me from the comforting stupor of morning ritual, inviting me to both tune in and tune out in silent wonder. For a moment, I had no thoughts, only a deep awareness of being with nature. What a day to be alive.

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