by Gina Ann Day
Wonder of the Wild
Chapter 1(Part 1)
The RV was still for a long spell for the first time in a week. Thank God. The summer vacation would be at least a three-month duration and it had just gotten underway. This getting used to sleeping while the vehicle moved was for the birds.
Daniel, Bret, and she took turns at the wheel so they could put most of the long haul behind them early on. That way more time could be spent at various locations previously determined to be almost tourist free. The ones the kids had chosen that did include tourist hot spots would be worked in as rewards for good behavior along the way.
Shondra began a heartfelt prayer before she allowed her eyes to open and several minutes later forced her legs to get up and go toward the front of the vehicle. Glancing at the clock, she wondered where on earth this early her mischievous little son could have gone without first waking her.
His little bed of piled blankets and a sleeping bag next to hers and his Dad’s bed was clearly empty. He had been afraid of the lightning storm the night before. He wasn’t used to the open skies yet. For that matter, where was Daniel? It was too quiet for everyone to be up and at it already; especially her crew.
She stopped abruptly upon eyeing the child sitting still in the oversized driver’s seat. He was staring intently out the broad window of the RV into what she expected to be the sunrise she could see reflecting off every chrome piece on the dash. She followed his gaze and gasped aloud. Daniel was sitting on the ground feeding a tiny coyote. At least, he was attempting to feed the curious animal.
Danny shot his mother a stern look and put his finger over his lips to signal her to be quiet. Shondra obeyed amusingly, yet felt concerned for Daniel. Coyotes can be dangerous; even this very young one. What if the mother was standing nearby?
As if that were a signal, two adult coyotes cautiously came into the desert clearing where the RV was parked among the tall Sequoias and sage brush. They were parked just off the back road. They had taken as a scenic route the day before and everyone had really enjoyed traveling for once since the vacation had started.
Upon seeing the adult animals, Daniel froze; became motionless and glanced at the ground. The youngster eyes danced with joy to see what seemed to be the pup’s parents. He jumped and licked the older ones as they curiously eyed Daniel and especially, the RV. The humans made them nervous.
Shondra had been busy taking photographs, but when the biggest coyote stepped toward Daniel, she plopped the camera onto the dash and stomped rather loudly out of the camper and in leapt between Daniel and the family of coyotes. She startled them so badly; they left in full gallop with the toddler in tow.
A few hundred feet away, the toddler stopped and sat down. He looked at his parents and he looked back at Daniel. He walked a few feet after his parents and collapsed. The two adults paced in circles from their distance and called for the youngster to no avail. A few seconds later they went back to nudge the little coyote back to his feet.
This scenario from walk to collapse went on for four more times before the adults gave up. They lay down; wrapping their bodies around the smaller coyote. It was a bit chilly outside. Daniel, Shondra, and Danny were rendered speechless and in complete awe of the love the family of coyotes shared.
“Mama, we got to take the baby away and get him fixed. He’s sick. Let’s go get him. Let’s go.” Danny blurted and took off toward the animals before Daniel could grab him.
Shondra had already taken off behind Danny, so Daniel followed them both without saying anything. There was nothing to say, he felt the same way as Danny. The closer they got to the coyotes, the more fidgety the adult coyotes got. When they got within a few feet of the animals, the adults got up and walked several feet away, turned to watch, and sat down fearlessly.
Danny reached the little one first and with caution in the wind, plopped down beside of the whimpering baby. He scooped him up and gave him a kiss with tears streaming down his face. Danny thought he could see tears in the baby’s eyes and reported it so. He ordered his parents to run faster, faster.