The three adult Border collies and I left on our walk at daybreak, when the wind was calm, the sky clear, and frost covering the ground.
We encountered the coyote hunting in the recently harvested soybean.
He looked surprised to see us.
Had he not noticed the time? The lightening sky? Or, did he know in his bones that snow was coming and he needed to eat well?
He trotted toward the woods, then turned and looked at us, deciding whether he wanted to leave his prime hunting spot.
Because we'd just crossed a road, my dogs were on leashes and anxiously awaiting me to release them so that they could hunt the fields for mice.
"Go on, coyote," I said.
Reluctantly he retreated to the woods.
And my three dogs happily ran and chased and hunted until they encountered the raccoon who wisely climbed a tree.
Caeli jumped and whined and jumped some more at the base of the tree.
"That'll do," I said, summoning the dogs to begin walking toward home.
As we walked down the lane, we eyed a pair of red-tailed hawks, circling the hay fields, hunting for mice, perturbed to be giving up their hunting grounds to dogs.
Unlike the night creatures, they'd continue to hunt and screech throughout the day.