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That Thing with Feathers: Hope and Literature in a Time of Pandemic

Kathryn Wilder writes from a remote corner of southwest Colorado where her home abuts public land, including a wild horse management area. In her forthcoming book, Desert Chrome: Water, A Woman & Wild Horses, Wilder explores both the controversies of managing America’s wild horses and the struggles in her own life that have led her to this place of rich, wild beauty. In this stunning installment of That Thing With Feathers, Wilder faces a troubling conflict within herself as she watches nature’s drama unfold just outside her door.



by Kathryn Wilder

After checking for new calves in the Nichols Wash pasture, where we moved the cows last month, I got home early enough to eat dinner before dark while watching an episode of The West Wing, pretending that was our political world, when above the delicious banter of Martin Sheen and his staff, I heard a cry that would crack any mother’s heart,

a sound I’ve heard before, felt before inside my skin, primal voice turning blood to ice,

and I ran out the open cabin door to see on the flat of old riverbed below a coyote on a fawn. I mean the coyote was on top of the fawn, pinning it down with the weight of instinct and hunger,