After dinner tonight, we went for a walk in our favorite nature preserve that’s about two miles from our house. I love the wide crushed gravel trail that loops around a large lake with no motorized traffic in sight. I can breathe easy there—my youngest is a classic wild child. She can and will get into scrapes, mishaps and shenanigans. Earlier in the day, the child ran into the street in front of our house. She loved the attention she got when she did it, so she repeated the feat (before being dragged inside as playtime abruptly ended.)
As you enter the nature preserve, there are signs about coyote-human interaction and how to avoid it if at all possible. These signs are illustrated with a rather realistic-looking coyote. My elder daughter was alarmed, and since she can read, she had a lot of questions for us. (My husband has actually seen the coyote that lives in this particular preserve a lot when he used to run there at dusk last year. The coyote would run with him, looping alongside in the brush. J. said the coyote seemed curious and not at all menacing. Taking a page from the Obvious Wifely Handbook, I suggested he find another place to run, or run in the daylight.)
As we began to walk, elder daughter became frightened beyond just normal kid-fear-type-stuff. She wanted to be held—or at the very least—-hold our hands. We told her over and over that nothing was going to happen, that the four of us would certainly scare off any coyotes; and besides, what would a coyote want with boring ‘ole people?
The child was not placated or reassured until I put my arm around J. and told her, “This is your Daddy. He’s here to protect you. What can a coyote do to you with Daddy around?”
Those were the words that did it. Soon, she was skipping alongside the boardwalk that edged a vast expanse of cattails, some bursting into feather down. As the sun started sinking low, with the Rocky Mountains muted through a pink and blue sunset, we walked and talked. We were fearless, held up by love and a Father’s sure protection.
My life twists this way and that. Opportunities come and go; decisions are made hourly. And sometimes, my applecart gets upset with the twin sisters of pride and judgement. I have to stop and remember that “If God is for us, who can be against?” Held up against the majesty of the Father who cares for us—whose heart will not rest until we are His—what can dangers, disappointments and denials do to us? They are just scruffy coyotes, running in the shadows, never menacing for very long.
Whatever your coyote, know there is One to guide you through, One who stops to hold you fast. An embrace of love, timeless and forever yours held out in an open hand.