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Coyotes, Jan 18

Thank you to Lucy for the blog.

Once upon a time… in the season of winter, the trees were bare and covered with frost. Yellow grass and alfalfa peeked out from under old packed snow as it began to melt below the sun’s gaze. A group of eight kids’ with heavy backpacks, and two teachers with a black sled stood by the road awaiting the arrival of their other classmates.

But after a few more minutes of chatting with each other, one of the Coyote’s (a lass named Anika) took up the rope attached to the sled, and began to pull it. They all followed slowly, as they talked. Once in a while pushing the back end of the sled when the Coyote pulling it was having trouble. But luckily that morning the path wasn’t too slick with ice. And eventually everyone made it up the snowy hill, and Anika pulled the black sled next to a tree so it wouldn’t slide back down. Then suddenly, Safiya, their other classmate who was late, came running from the bottom of the hill and joined the class. After this, one of their teachers, Ms. Lea, a tall woman with black snow pants, a bright blue jacket, long faded ginger hair, and a fanny pack stepped forward with a small stack of papers to explain what they would be doing.

“Ok,” she said, in a cheery voice. “Last week we practiced different carries and drags, like the fireman carry and ankle drag. So I thought today we could do a relay race involving the carries and drags,” she paused, and studied their reactions. “So how it will work is there will be two teams, and in the first carry one person on your team will drag or carry one of your other teammates across to the line of rope,” Ms. Lea continued on, gesturing to the ropes laid out on the snow and giving each team some of the papers, which displayed and explained the different carries and drags some of them learned the previous week.

After everyone understood the game, their other teacher, Ms. Dawn, a short woman with a pair of black snow pants and jacket, and short brown hair raised her arm in the air. “Go!” she yelled, dropping her arm to her side. In a flash the oldest girl, Katie, grabbed her sister’s ankles and began to hastily drag her across the small field. The other team did a similar drag, and made it to the other side just a little bit slower.

The game continued on till the first team made it back just before the other team. And were dubbed the winners, though the other team did make a better stretcher for the last challenge. So both teams were the winners! And after everyone gave feedback on each other, Ms. Lea announced that it was now Free Time since last week there was very little.

“Yes!” one Coyote cheered. “Free Time!”

“Let’s play Red Rover!”

“Let’s play Revenge Tag!”

“Let’s sled!” Everyone nodded and grabbed an empty chicken feed bag. One by one they started at the top of the packed snowy hill and shot down dodging trees as they did.

“I’ve got an idea!” the oldest Coyote said. “Some people stand in front of the track with their bags, then jump out of the way at the last second!” So they did, three people stood on the track using their bags like a curtain and many times nearly missed being hit by the Coyote coming down at them. But this only inspired Katie again!

“I’ve got another idea!” she called, waving her bag in the air. “Drape the tarp over a rope and then you have to duck before you hit it!” This thought sounded magnificent, so they tied a rope to two trees across from each other and draped two small tarps over it. Then Anika stood by the rope and used her hands as traffic signs.

“This means stop!” she called, holding her hand out. “This means prepare your sled! And this means go!” The traffic signs worked, and Katie sat on by the other end of the rope critiquing each Coyote. And each Coyote enjoyed rocketing down the hill and ducking at the last moment. Bridgette, Anika’s sister, kneeled close to the tarp holding out her hat which was filled with mountain ash berries for them to try and grab.

The sledding was a hit, and it continued on till they were calling each Coyote by their plane name.

“Here comes EC Twelve!” yelled Anika, signing to go as Ellie shot down the hill and ducked under the tarp.

“And here comes SQ Twelve!” she announced, as Safiya came down standing on her sled like a snowboard. Everything was peaceful, until the Coyotes’ starting to go down in bunches, and didn’t wait for the track to clear. Katie, Bridgette, and Anika got sticks and tried to tackle and control the Coyotes.

“Bridgette! Mika’s going!” Katie yelled, as Mika attempted to slip past them on her sled. But little did they know, that Katie was actually on the rebels team. And the game proceeded on till it got a little boring, and Safiya ended up being tied to a tree?

“Ok, get your backpacks and let’s head to the park!” said Ms. Dawn, gesturing down the hill.

The Coyote’s nodded sadly and took up their backpacks. Skipping down the hill, they made their way to the park and began shaving off kindling, cutting wood, and lighting matches. Soon a big fire burned and crackled in the firepit, and a small Dutch Oven with raw hand rolled biscuits inside were placed into the flames.

“Ok,” said Katie. “So the first Rugby drill we will be doing is where there’s a vault and someone is the ball protector,” she explained the drills, and everyone completed them. Though, unfortunately their time for drills was short lived, and the bitter smell of something burning drifted through the air.

“Oh! The biscuits!” exclaimed Ms. Lea, hastily lifting the Dutch Oven with Ms. Dawn's help, and gingerly setting in on the snow. The pot hissed as it touched the cold ground, and began to gradually melt into the snow. Everyone watched warily as Ms. Lea slowly lifted the lid, and smoke bellowed out.

“Oh!” said their teacher, setting the lid on the snow. “They're crispy.” All the Coyotes gathered around, taking what they thought was their biscuit and smothering it with butter.

After everyone ate their fill, the Rugby field was marked and the teams were made. They were only able to play two matches, but at the end everyone got a hot cup of tea drink.

All the Coyotes were sweating, and their snow gear was soaked. So they went to the cabin for lunch. When the class arrived, they hastily pushed their way in, and hung everything on their hook. They ate lunch as they finger knit, and were soon pushing their way back out of the cabin door.

And finally, to end the day off, they played an epic game of Revenge Tag. They all started out spread around the field, and suddenly the game began. Safiya snuck up behind Ms. Dawn, and tagged her with a flourish. Mika and Katie both lunged at each other at the same time. Anika and Ms. Lea sat on the sidelines flipping through a survival book. Ellie was doing rock-paper-scissors with Bridgette, and they both kept doing the same thing so Satya had time to watch and tag Ellie when she won. Lucy stood near Safiya chatting about the weather. They both eyed each other warily and kept their guard up. And when Lucy made an attempt to tag her, Safiya didn’t react and let her get the win. Far from the others Vita was deking and dodging Mika as her hands shot out like a cat's paws.

But the day came to an end eventually, and they all made their way back to the drop off spot. Smiling bitterly, the nine Coyotes got into their cars. And waved goodbye.

–Written by Lucy

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