As the overnight temperatures dip below freezing the stock dogs are allowed to pour into the house for the evening. Last thing before bed time I step outside with the puppy so he can go pee.
The night time air is crisp and the ground cold and damp from days of drizzling weather. It is a black, black night, stars shrouded by cloud.
As BlackJack investigates for a prime spot, coyotes begin to yip; they are to the North. This is immediately followed by a guardian dog bark. This chorus continues and then a second group of coyotes set off yipping in the far East.
A deep, lone, and long howl joined in the wild melody. This voice comes from South of the yard where the flock is night penned. One of the guardian dogs from the main pack then.
I stand in the dark and unconsciously lift my face upward as though I might catch the sound better. I want to know which guardian is answering but can not tell by the howl.
It is a penetrating and chilling mix of invitingly wild and mournfully domestic canine song. I want it to continue and to stop at the same time. I momentarily forget the pup who is out in the dark with me. The dog howling ceases but there is still a bit of a coyote sing along going on in the distance. I collect the pup and we make our way back inside, our cozy world slightly altered and enhanced in a wild way.
(This post was first written a few years ago for another blog, later deleted. I resurrected it because it's like deja vu now when I'm stepping out with BlackJack).