Coyotes, the Beastie Boys of the neighborhood, have an in-your-face way of letting you know you're on their turf and don't forget it. They leave scat in the middle of a well-worn pathway so you can't miss it, or in the driveway close to the house just to reinforce the fact that they own the night. I can hear Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, "Listen to the singing of the Children of the Night!," as the pack runs the hills under the full moon. The grapes must be close to harvest time, as the scat is full of grape seeds and skins now. It makes me smile to think of these killers daintily selecting grapes from the vines...along the lines of "real men don't eat quiche." I wonder if they're selective about varietals and vintages. The vintners use all sorts of sophisticated equipment to tell when the grapes are at their peak...all they really need to do is look at the ground. Down in the south pasture, there is an outcropping of granite rocks (hence Gray Rock Road), and one has a depression that speaks of long-gone generations of probably Miwok Indians who used it as a grinding stone for acorns. The coyotes have an unerring ability to hit that mark to leave a calling card. Back in the day when Steve and I would hike in the mountains, I would find scat on high rocks in unlikely places. In addition to marking their territory, they evidently like a potty with a view.
The full moon rises behind the hill to the east, silhouetting the pines on the crest. The sight stops me in my tracks every time. One can literally read a newspaper by the light of the moon, and should I open my eyes at three, it's easy to think I've slept late and it's already dawn. The vulture migration always comes around the week of the nineteenth of September...I'll have to go back to old calendars to see if that correlates with the full moon. Since the buzzards gather in the late afternoon, do they travel by night?