On Talking To Coyote
October 5, 2016
Bent, New Mexico
For Vincent Mann with thanks for the inspiration he shares with us each and every day!!!
On Talking With Coyote
I woke to my alarm at 5:15 this morning, interrupting a dream of Apaches and Navajos, who weren’t fighting, thank you. If I cannot recall the content of the dream I do know it was vivid enough to feel as if I was walking in another realm before I awakened, and I have long felt that such is possible. Often enough I have made passage through that doorway to have the sense of other lives and feel they parallel the present. So it was I began the day with a strong sense of balance, and wishing I had another hour to rest and enjoy it.
Instead I pushed on and minutes later stepped out my door into the final darkness before the dawn, with the stars still bright in the sky. I spoke those words of thanks that flow unbidden from my lips as I breathed the cool air of the new day. I noted it was a little colder than yesterday, but then it is fall and it is supposed to be that way. No complaints, it is my favorite time of year. As I stepped around the corner of my bus I heard a rumble of hooves and a large herd of elk, twenty perhaps, went thundering up the mountainside. I apologized out loud for startling them and then paused to listen to the fading sound of their hooves on the ground. Before they were gone I heard a bugle from the bull who must have paused to speak as they departed. If my heart was already full it lifted higher with the sound.
Dawn found me with buckets in hand and thinking how fortunate I am to live as I do, even if I am working a little harder than I care to. Ten hour days with feeding horses morning and night, another 40 minutes at each end, is filling my time well, but I enjoy it also. The physical effort alone is enriching but the peace of the morning and the evening is essential and I love the horses. Neither did they disappoint me this morning as the chill air sent the young colts to running and bucking for the sheer pleasure of doing so, even after their buckets were filled. I have to admit to growling at them, as they come too close sometimes and are inclined to kick, but I still enjoyed watching their banter.
Rounding the corner and stopping for a gate I then heard coyote, voicing his joy as well. He howled and laughed and I had to answer him. I spoke softly at first, as my neighbors light was on and I was a little embarrassed to have them hear me. Driving further off I then abandoned my concern. I have long let my feral self take charge as she will and there is some of the wolf and coyote in me as well, my howl close enough to theirs to elicit an answer. We conversed several times but coyote kept singing longer than I did. My howls soon turned to laughter instead and the joy of the new day was enough to remind me of how fortunate I am to live as I do. Too, for the moment I seem free of all concern. Other than my usual contemplations there is such a clear lack of crisis in my life as to make me wonder how much of the same I have created in the past. Certainly we all have legitimate woes but beyond the need for our immediate necessities how many of those are of our own making?
The ducks flew in as I made my return round to the final gate and I thrilled at the flutter of their wings, as always. They are certainly the more ungainly of the birds here, crashing on their breasts and pitching forward when they land on solid ground, but then it is a wonder they fly at all. Their wings are shorter than most and their flight appears to be a frantic effort compared to the hawks and the ravens. I bade coyote goodbye as I closed the final gate and turned to take a picture of the breaking day, the sky glowing pink and blue with the dawn. I turned to watch the ravens circle on the mountain top thermals and thought again how blessed I was as I headed to work. Again I considered my good fortune, and how I should savor the moment as they pass so quickly at times.
I stopped to open the gate to my workplace and took a deep breath as I did. The air was filled with the rich smoke of a juniper fire, the Apaches favorite wood and mine as well. First fire, harbinger of fall and the sacred smoke filled me as everything else had this morning. I stopped to make the gesture to the smoke, calling it to bless me, cupping my hand in the air to bring it towards my person that I might be cleansed and protected as the sage would do. My Native friends have rubbed off on me over these years, just as they have all of my life. I reflect on their blessings and the morning prayers which I have made my own and again I say thanks. With all the beauty and wonder of nature, and of life itself, there is nothing else I can ask for. May all be well today!! Ixehe, Thank you!!!!!