Morning stories from the woods

Outside–just now–coyotes yipping, close to the house. Neighbor’s little dogs barking furiously.  Cacophony in the woods!  My heart pounds.

Suddenly, all still.  Hopefully the dogs ran, tails between legs, back home.  Hopefully, coyotes didn’t breakfast until later.

Dark lingers these mornings, but it will lighten earlier next weekend when Daylight Savings Time flies away with the last honking geese.


Full white moon illuminated skeleton trees last night.  Light poured in through open bedroom window but I slept on and on and on, thank all those twinkling midnight stars.

Gunshot cracks down on the bay.  Fat goose for someone for breakfast, unless gunshot strayed to embed in tall maple or poplar, or perhaps someone’s errant window.

Years ago, a bullet grazed our family room window downstate, just where I was sitting a few minutes ago.  Deer hunting target gone astray.

A few months ago a bullet struck the window by our kitchen table.

Danger in the woods?

I’m more scared in the city.

Coyotes want breakfast and hunters lick greasy goose dreams as they aim their guns toward feathers, but mostly the trees sway in icy acceptance of the first 25 F (-4 C) morning, frost etching dried leaves.

The ’49 Studebaker pickup truck waits blocking the driveway, half filled with yesterday’s wood-splitting fun.  We’ve never split wood this late in the year.  We’ve been splitting since spring, on and off, timing our truckloads between Barry’s knee replacement surgeries.

Only two or three more truckloads to go.  In summer we sweat, miserably hot, loading the truck with five fat rows of split firewood, then unloading it back in our woodpile.  In late autumn we wear sweatshirts and heavy coats, ear muffs protecting ears from the splitter motor’s loud whining roar.

Louder than coyotes yipping.  They slumber in their somewhere-den by mid-morning, exhausted from full moon wandering and breakfast searches.

It’s a rare coyote we humans glimpse.

They, on the other hand, may witness us with gleaming eyes as we unload our truck, as we walk up the road, as we meditate upon red roots of yonder cedar tree.

Stories from the woods

Sun thinks about rising now.  Wood stove needs tending.

I wish you good morning from the forest.  Thank you for listening to me yip from my den in these Upper Peninsula woods.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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61 Responses to Morning stories from the woods

  1. CMSmith says:

    It sounds delightful.

  2. Stacy says:

    Good morning to you, too, Kathy. 🙂

  3. Read like a poem, pictures are suberp. I love you.

  4. Susan D. says:

    I got lost in this, and wanted the next chapter. Thank you.

  5. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Beautifully written Kathy. Hunters are about here too, I don’t walk in the woods during hunting season without wearing something bright.

    • Kathy says:

      Kerry, the trees lose their bright oranges and then we start wearing them to avoid those hunters. It’s a good practice to dress brightly at this time of year. Thank you.

  6. lisaspiral says:

    That was a lovely morning in the woods. Lots of juicy bits tucked into a lovely little sunrise meditation.

  7. And good morning to you, too! What a nice and informative little verbal walk through your lovely world…thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Good afternoon to you, Cindy! This morning, at school, I opened an envelope where Beaver Island Schools were looking for a new principal–or was it a superintendent? I thought fondly of you.

  8. susan says:

    Brilliant writing before sun up! You never cease to amaze me! Have a lovely Sunday.

  9. Colleen says:

    Good morning Kathy. Hoping your wood splitting will soon be done. Wish I was close enough to offer a helping hand although it sounds like the two of you have it down to an art, or a science. Thinking of the wonderful wood-warmth you will be having all winter!
    I felt like we have just had a quiet first light of morning visit. Happy Sunday to both of you : )

    • Kathy says:

      We’ll be done with wood splitting before mid-November, come h**l or high water. We do have wood splitting down to an art! You have to be oh-so-careful, because it can be dangerous. Already the wood stove is in high demand. Glad you enjoyed the quiet moment, dear Colleen.

  10. Elisa's Spot says:

    I’m tryin to put up food that I can eat for Sandy. The whole state is in a ‘no power’ warning type thing. I think I am a lot more grateful now for my dietary restrictions, as I can be creative with grains, veggies, and beans! Hey, and if all is well, I’ll have cooking done for a week!

    I do not miss hearing shots, not at all.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Elisa, I hope you are safe for Sandy. I am so nervous–which is unexpected, because I’m not usually nervous like this. (OK, sometimes.) YES! You are an advance creative healthy cooking whiz. Your family will eat well, come high water and anything else. Glad you do not hear shots. They sometimes alarm me, until I remember that some people love goose soup.

  11. Sounds like you have a wood-burning furnace out there in the woods. It reminds me of Hubby’s sister’s place. They have 40 acres north-east of us, a wooded oasis among the farmland. Her hubby spends his summers chopping wood and gathering it from various sources, like our yard after we had our three poplars removed last fall (the roots were sucking the ground dry around our house foundation and we feared they’d start causing cracks).

    Hunting season is always a little worrisome, even at their place. That gunshot hole in your window makes me think it would have been a scary experience for you! And the coyotes have been a problem outside the city here, too, luring pets out into their lairs.

    It is just mother nature, after all, and despite the dangers, there is beauty, as well. You have shown us that through your lovely photos, which make me a little nostalgic for the days when I used to wander through the ‘woods’ near my childhood home. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Susan~~that gunshot in our window might have been scary for us~~if we’d known when it happened. As it was, we probably noticed it days or weeks after it happened. Your sister-in-law and her husband sound like they live similarly to us in some ways. Mother Nature…sigh…she’s beautiful and she’s frightening and she’s always Here, making herself known.

  12. lucindalines says:

    Again so poetic. Your writing is similar to some of the Native writers I have read. It is certainly that you are a good writer. It also speaks to your ability to absorb your surroundings, you have taken in the environment and made it yours. Rah!!!

    • Kathy says:

      I’ve probably absorbed the spirit from the Native writers I’ve read, too, Lucinda! Thank you! How lovely for you to say this… deep heart-felt appreciation.

  13. Carol says:

    Bullets hitting the windows of homes is very scary for me – I would not like that at all! Coyotes prowl around us at night, and occasionally one will be sighted during the day. Some nights we can hear them celebrating a kill and I always hope it was a rabbit they found, not someone’s cat. But doesn’t daylight savings time give us light earlier in the day? If not, I have been sadly deluding myself, awaiting it’s departure so that perhaps, just perhaps, Shasta will let me sleep until I can see light on the horizon.

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Carol, if we’d been aware of WHEN the bullet his our window, we probably would have fretted. As it was, we noticed it days or maybe weeks later. It is sad that pet-owners must be afraid of coyotes and wolves who are doing what they do so naturally–eating breakfast or lunch. 😦 As for daylight savings time, yes, you are oh-so-right and I changed my deluded sentence to better reflect the light of reality!

  14. Brenda Hardie says:

    Sounds like a delightful way to wake up while living in the northwoods….well..except for the errant bullets hitting the windows! I’m sooooo grateful you were not still sitting or standing in front of those windows!

  15. bonnie says:

    I always enjoy your ‘yipping’, Kathy. With your words, I can picture in my mind’s eye the beauty of your woods.

  16. Heather says:

    Oh how I love the eerie howls of the coyotes. I do not so much love the howl of the wood-splitter, but am grateful for the fruits of labor. I dread the upcoming time change, but there is nothing to be done for it, so I will have to rouse myself into and out of bed earlier to enjoy the few hours of sun we get. May you be warm and safe from coyotes and stray bullets.

    • Kathy says:

      I love the howls of coyotes more than that darn wood-splitter, too. (No, no, wood splitter, I did NOT mean that! Please keep running until our wood is cut this year, please, do not listen to my yipping, thank you.) I appreciate your benediction, Heather. May our sunlight not desert us too much.

  17. Yip! Yip! right back atcha

    Your enchanting description had me enthralled.

  18. dearrosie says:

    Great build up of the coyotes, your dogs, the geese and the bullet lodged in your window. Your life sounds like a meditation.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Rosie, yes, sometimes my life is like a meditation. Other times–like today when I’m worried about my girl out on the East Coast–not so much. Thank you!

  19. sybil says:

    Kathy write in lovely way. Sybil sit and nod at Kathy’s observations. Kathy paints pictures with words. Sybil no longer fretting about bumper stickers. Thanks Kathy for her concern. Now, go tend fire.

    • Kathy says:

      Kathy likes Sybil’s nodding. Kathy likes that Sybil not fretting. Kathy now fretting. About hurricane and daughter. But fire always needs tending…thank Sybil!

  20. sandiwhite says:

    The Coyotes have eaten every feral cat around here. That being the case, I wish they would now eat the rabbits that have over-populated since the decline in cats. Thanks for an interesting story, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Now why would coyotes eat feral cats and not rabbits, Sandi? Inquiring minds want to know! Seems like any small creatures would be fair game. (I hope they don’t eat your chickens!)

  21. poetjena says:

    Even without the extra dimension of your words Kathy, I would still be loving this post!

  22. rosedixon says:

    Love it. The honking geese and yipping coyotes

  23. Barb says:

    Sometimes, I see a coyote in broad daylight, but usually it’s the foxes who crisscross our property. I would be totally freaked by a bullet though. No bullets, please! Actually, the deer come closer to the house at this time of the year. Do they know it’s dangerous out there?

    • Kathy says:

      Now, I, personally, would like to see a fox crisscrossing our property. The only time I’ve seen a fox during daylight is when driving to town on the back route. Don’t know about that bullet. There have been bullets in stop signs, and bullets hither and yon, but never any in our windows. I think it was completely random. And truly, I have inquired, but the deer do not answer concerning the danger at this time of year…

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  25. wolfsrosebud says:

    for me… one of your better posts… i heard the poetic voice between the lines

    • Kathy says:

      I would suspect you might enjoy the more poetic blogs I sometimes post here, wolfrosebud. Sometimes I ponder writing a blog completely with posts like these~~but couldn’t keep up with another one! Thank you. Glad you enjoyed.

  26. lovely the others have said it all
    the coyotes come into our neighborhood cause we took it over from them
    last week I could hear the screaming forever as the coyote took some small animal away for dinner
    one could hear the terror of the small animal as the screams pierced the night

    • Kathy says:

      yes, you are so correct, Linda–~WE took over our neighborhoods from the coyotes and we wonder why they’re still here, looking for breakfast and dinner. Sigh. Mother Nature is not always kind in human terms.

  27. sonali says:

    A wonderful description for the morning Kathy. I can imagine the start to a day in the woods now. I don’t quite like the bullet hit on the glass of yours. How disturbing that is.
    Do take care while you live in the woods dearie.

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, I hope no other bullets find our windows. No others have in the last 30 some years. But it does happen in hunting land. We’ll take care. I so appreciate your concern…

  28. Reggie says:

    I find it quite disturbing that bullets go astray in your woods! Or rather into your kitchen windows! I hope it’s only during hunting season? Do you wear bright orange when you go for walks then?

    • Kathy says:

      Well, this has never happened with one of our windows in the previous 30 years, so bullets hitting windows aren’t a regular occurrence. I do try to wear bright orange during hunting season. Or try not to walk much when there are guns in the woods.

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