Wild Midnight Magic

slice-of-life_individualI’m still not sure which woke me first–Kurt whispering intensely, “Molly, do you hear them?” or the sounds themselves. Stumbling up through layers of sleep, I half sat to listen. Kurt leaned closer to the window. The air around us seemed to vibrate with yips and howls. I recognized the sound immediately: Coyotes. But, I’d rarely heard them so loud before. They must have been close. Really close.

I still remember the first time we heard coyotes after moving to Maine. How we wondered at first what they were. How they sounded to us then– like a pack of drunks spilling out into the streets after last call at the bars. Howling and yipping. Wild with revelry. I smile now thinking how our city life translated into country.

We’ve heard them many times since, and last night, decades later, we listened to them again.

“Just listen to them!”
“They’re so loud. Are they down in the field?”

We whispered back and forth, as outdoors, the volume rose and then stayed steady, never receding. I’m not sure why we whispered.  Was it instinctive?  A need to stay unnoticed by this roving pack of predators? Or perhaps we whispered in deference to the wild magic of that midnight moment. 

Still listening, I imagined the coyotes moving through the snow. Slipping through shadows. Their breath frosting in the frigid air. Their strong, lean bodies dark silhouettes. Loud, fierce and free.

And then, just like that, their calls stopped. As if a switch had turned. The sudden silence felt like an echo.

After a moment, I lay back down, pulling the blankets up around my shoulders. I wondered if coyote prints outlined a path across the field, or perhaps even a circle in the side yard beneath our window.

So close. So loud. So fierce and free.

I tumbled back into sleep, thinking of coyotes.



15 thoughts on “Wild Midnight Magic

  1. I often hear them tipping outside my bedroom window too. Over the warm weather Christmas our son and wife were visiting and of course they brought their pup. They heard the coyotes and were afraid the pup would be awakened by the loud sounds so they shut the window. Your phrase, magic midnight moment is catchy…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah? It’s about a family that moves to Alaska back in the 70s and experiences some things for the very first time. Your piece about the first time you encountered coyotes made me think of the way Hannah described so much of their initial encounters with their new Alaskan home in that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ramona says:

    Takes me back to the few times I’ve visited the farm where my husband grew up and listened to coyotes. Thanks for sharing the “wild magic of your midnight moment.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. margaretsmn says:

    Our “bug” man says he saw a coyote on our back deck. Hard to believe, but a few years ago we lost a cat to something wild. I’ve never heard them, though. I think I would be mesmerized as you were. So wild!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. arjeha says:

    This is a sound we don’t hear where we live. I can understand the whispering. Loud talking would destroy the magic and mystery of the night sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jacqueslebec says:

    There are three that run down our Levee every night, one stays at the foot on the land side while the other two run to the top. They stop, if the coast is clear they signal the third to join them then run full gait North, every night. I lost my hearing so I can’t hear them across the river any longer, but one night I did with hearing assistance, I finally heard them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you were able to hear them again that one night! You must have been thrilled. How fascinating to be able to watch them on a regular basis!


  7. I loved imagining the scenes you described and the sounds. So eerie and curious.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fran Haley says:

    Favorite line: “Perhaps we whispered in deference to the wild magic of that midnight moment.” Lyrical and lovely. Your descriptions of the coyotes as they slip through shadows and snow is so clear and powerful. Around here, in my rural area, farmers keep donkeys in pastures with goats and cows as a donkey will drive coyotes away! Hard to believe something as outwardly benign as a donkey can overcome such a predator,


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