Just before Christmas, Sofie and I went out to gather various cuttings for her grandmother's garlands. With various live Christmas trees planted over many years, this is not too hard. And the invasion of bittersweet at least produces something of value, with plenty of those red berries and yellow husks. (I also want it to go in the record that the roadside holly tree down the street from us was felled and dismembered after Dec. 25, and is otherwise a complete coincidence).
Rambling down our little road, I fended off Sofie's repeated attempts to gain control of my branch loppers with redirecting her to stories of animals I've seen. She's particularly interested in coyotes and wolves. Several members of my family have lost cats (playmates of Sofie's) to coyotes. Other people in town have had smaller dogs taken by them, too. So Sofie has deemed them as bad and scary.
My daughter weighs less than the larger of our two corgis, so I am not about to dissuade her from having a healthy apprehension when it comes to the largest wild predator on the Cape. After all, I've seen a pack heading down our road, four abreast, with so little regard for my car that they barely parted to let me pass.
On the other hand, I've told Sofie that her two dogs will always protect her from coyotes. During our walk, she asked in detail about the things coyotes eat. Then she wondered if anything eats coyotes. "Wolves," I said. So now when we read "Little Red Riding Hood" or the "Three Little Pigs," she has a built-in sympathy for the protagonist. Sofie insists wolves are nice.
(read the rest of the column here)