The coyotes howled last night, just as the sky turned black and the moon shown bright.
It’s an unnerving sound. Otherworldly. Like a horror movie right before something awful happens. We have ducks, so we pay attention. Domestic ducks that have neither fight nor flight. Ducks that have to outwit their enemies (and while we love them, there aren’t a lot of wits to spare). There isn’t much we can do after we’ve done our part other than worry and hope it all turns out okay.
And it will, we’re assured the next morning. The process has worked as it should. We did the mundane things we needed to do to ensure we make it through. It wasn’t an epic battle, there was no bloodbath and all our worrying was for naught. In the end, we learned the same lesson we always do: the coyotes may make a lot of noise, but it’s all just bluster.
When I was a kid, my grandfather used to have a saying:
Never you mind, he’d say. It’s going to be all right. Nothing to get worked up about. (He was a low key kind of guy.) Everything in stride, and his stride was always a calm, measured pace. I think of him often these days as I feel the tensions rising to a fever pitch.
My daughter called the other day. “Put it down, mom,” she sternly told me. “Stop scrolling. You’ve done your part. You can’t control the rest.” Alan commented on how wise she was. “Your kid,” he said beaming.
It wasn’t until later she admitted she was stressing the entire time. “I ate a bundt cake,” she told me sheepishly. Pumpkin. With glaze.
She wasn’t the only one. Numerous friends have confided their carb therapy, from Christmas Ale to bagels to an entire loaf of sourdough in one happy sitting.
Forgive yourself, I say. It’s that kind of week. It’s that kind of year. Do what gets you through, whether it’s bundt cake or bread or a nice cold beer. If going up a notch takes you down another, has anything truly been gained?
And then, take a tip from my grandfather: