The rich smells of coffee and cedar smoke in cold rooms as yet uninvaded by the spreading heat. Cold save that one spot, bundled beneath layers, that no one in their right mind would leave. Somewhere outside a dog barks, his long and attentive cry of alarm, and right mindedness changes. Dressing quickly, grabbing a pistol off the bookcase and wishing it was a rifle, and quietly trotting out the kitchen door.
Eyes, squinted and suddenly watering against the flat and bright morning light, darting to the west. Scanning for shadows that move and grass that leans into the breeze. The pistol is cold, and not warming quickly, and no grass moves, and all the shadows sleep.
I stand for a long time, gun held low in front of me, playing my vision over the draw above the homeplace. Eyes waking, shaking free of sleep and given to reexamination of previously trusted brush and shade. Cedar smoke drifts lazily on the wind, calling me back to the house, to warmth. I turn partially, and go no where.
I cut my eyes back, looking out the sides of them. I feel like I am staring into the eyes of all the coyotes who have seen me, when I've never seen them. They are hidden in shadow and tall grass, laughing. If only I cut my eyes sideways just enough, as I am quartering away, I'll fool them I feel. Somewhere my vision will slip between worlds, and I'll see hidden things unsuspecting. Maybe even get a shot off. But my eyes find more still shadows, and grass that bends with the wind.
I turn a circle and look into the morning, for miles in every direction nothing but wildness of grass and cedar. Laughter of birds begins to fill the air, quick trilling song. Danger, if it was ever more than a pool of backbent breeze, is passed. I sigh, and start making the mental lists of the mornings tasks. Everything that must be made ready to return to town. Where, if tomorrow morning I answer the morning with a pistol and a hunter's smile, I'll surely be locked up. A roving mad man, hunting for quietude in the city.