On a Friday in November, the after-school kids reported seeing a coyote roaming around the yard next to our home, the Planet. We have seen many coyotes and find them quite scary, so we kept our ears wide open as the afternoon went by. The neighbor called to warn the kids about the coyote and Dave called the Wildcare people to see if they could come and help. But they wouldn’t come unless the coyote was hurt or being mean to people. At the end of the day, our mommy ran out with a kid who knew where the coyote was. Out of breath she came back, the coyote was roaming around in the cul-de-sac by the mailbox and olive trees. She said that he looked like a young one who was lost and got trapped on the wrong side of the freeway. He was probably afraid of the cars and couldn’t get back to open space.
Even though we are afraid of them, we felt bad for this young coyote. That evening when everyone had left and all the lights were turned off, we called a meeting with all the Poekies of the Planet. Except for those who had been napping, everyone already knew about the poor coyote, but everyone was afraid, and no one knew how we could help him. But Baby Poeka and I know exactly how to get to open space, because our mommy drives us there all the time. So I said to everyone, ‘We may all be afraid of the coyote, but Woolfie is buff and Vince is invincible and we know the way to nature, so why don’t we all go, Woolfie and Vince can make the contact and then Baby Poeka and I can show him the way?’ Everyone shivered, but it was clear, if we are brave Poekies, we must overcome our fear and save the coyote. Baby Poeka was all excited about the adventure, but Jacky the bunny hid behind his mommy.
It was going to be a long night. We Poekies don’t walk very fast and getting to the mailbox takes a lot of steps. We huddled together as we crossed our parking lot. There was the old pumpkin patch, we know it well. We stayed on the edge of the road, walking past Wes’s yard. He’s an old friend of ours, all grown-up now. Vince and Woolfie were right up front with us, everyone else was behind us, but still we were scared, it’s not the same in the dark and with the cars roaring over the freeway close by. Finally we got to the cu-de-sac, and we sat down under one of the olive trees.
‘I don’t see the coyote, so what are we going to do, we can’t keep on walking around,’ said Vince.
We decided to call all together. Vince roared, Woolfie howled, the ducks quacked, the cats meowed, the frogs croaked, and somewhere in there I could hear the bunnies whisper, ‘COYOTE!’
Then, in the darkness under some bushes, we saw two eyes and many sharp white teeth glistening. An ear-deafening loud howl followed. Vince and Woolfie took a step back, leaving Baby Poeka and I all alone in front. My voice shook as I said,
‘Sir Coyote, we heard that you are lost and we are here to help you get back to nature.’
The big animal came jumping at us, his mouth with oh so many teeth wide open, his tongue flapping and his tail twitching.
He howled even louder, ‘Who are you?’
‘We are just Poekies, unassuming animals. Not good to eat. We live down the road and we can show you the way back, if you let us,’ I said.
Vince and Woolfie were nowhere to be seen, but brave Baby Poeka was still right next to me, holding on to me tightly.
‘Sir Coyote,’ she said, ‘It is really true, we can show you the way to your home again. It’s not that far for you, but it is a long way for us. If you are patient, you will be home before the morning.’
The coyote sat down, and bending down his head, his big nose came very close. We all cowered back, our beans rattled as he sniffed all around us.
‘Hmm, I’m hungry, but you don’t smell tasty, no flesh or blood.’
I poked my nose out of the jumble of Poekies, ‘That’s right, Sir Coyote, we are made of recycled plastic bottles, and that is not good food for coyotes. We can show you the way to a place where there’s lots of food for you.’
The coyote laid down and rested his head on his paws and sighed, ‘I wish I could go home, I miss my mom and my dad, they always help me get good food, and there are no cars and no bright lights at night. Can you really bring me back, you little things? I am so tired, I spent the whole day chasing the cats here, but they are smart and I’m still learning to hunt, and I have no idea which way is home. I was too excited last night, running around, looking for adventure. Now I just want to go home.’
‘Let’s go then,’ I said, ‘But you have to be patient with us, we walk very slowly. First we have to get to the bike path over there. It will take us about an hour.’
‘Okay, you go and I will just take a nap under this tree. Call me when you get there.’
And so it happened. When we got to the bike path we called the coyote. He got up and came jumping over to us.
‘How much farther?’ he asked.
I told him it would take us two hours to cross under the freeway. It was already late at night, there weren’t that many cars roaring by. We needed a rest, but Baby Poeka, all excited for having it made so far on her own two feet, was ready to go on. And so we did.
The coyote wandered around, back and forth, as we slowly made our way underneath the freeway overpass. It is quite an eerie place at night, lots of cement, the occasional thunder of a truck passing overhead, and no living soul. Finally we arrived at the spot across from the old Fireside Motel.
‘This is it,’ I said, ‘If you cross the road here, go up the hill behind the motel, and keep on going up past many houses, you will be back in nature.’
The coyote twitched his tail, smelled the air and said, ‘I can already smell my home. Thank you little Poekies, for showing me the way. Excuse my hurry, but I am very hungry and must run. Goodbye.’
And after one more loud howl, the coyote skipped across the road and disappeared behind the buildings.
We all let out a sigh of relief, but Baby Poeka kept on looking up the hill, “Bye my nice coyote friend, thank you for the great adventure.’
The way back was long, cold and dark, and we were all very tired. That’s why on Saturday, when our mommy taught her Sewing Circle, we were all very quiet.