It is cold, rainy and dark here the last few days. Introspective weather. The kind that makes me feel a little less civilized, a little more like a neanderthal living in a cave and contemplating the forest around her. Out of this primitive and moody weather arose the mental image of a lone coyote howling on a hill at night. I happen to love the sound of coyotes, so off I went to channel some coyote magic.
I have a little experience with coyotes (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) from when we lived near Dallas about ten years ago. The suburban construction had reached coyote habitats and was driving them into the neighborhoods in search of food. This is, I believe, a common phenomenon in expanding cities. Coyote sightings on our block were not unusual, as we had a greenway running past the back of the house which reached for many miles and had a water source nearby.
One summer, a female coyote was hunting along the greenway for a couple of weeks. We dutifully kept small pets indoors and allowed her free roam, figuring she would move on within a short time as most of them did. But she had other plans. Morning walks along the greenway were part of our family routine, so we ventured out with our dog safely leashed one morning to stretch our many legs. About a quarter mile out, I noticed a large-ish animal out in the middle of the playground field. As we walked closer, we could see clearly it was the coyote, and she was laying down in the grass. Worried that she might be rabid or injured or both, I sent the kids and the dog home and set out to investigate from a safe distance (was that even thinking? Approaching a coyote? They look too much like dogs and I couldn't resist).
Well it turns out the coyote had been hanging around because she was ready to have a litter, and she had them in the middle of the field! Once I knew she had pups, I figured she was likely more dangerous than if she were injured (protective mama) and we altered the route of our walks for another ten days or so until she moved them elsewhere. We watched her with binoculars day after day, fascinated with her choice of nurseries and with the pups. One morning she wasn't there, and we never saw her again.
What does the coyote mean for me? The coyote is a totem animal of the plains Indians. She is creator, teacher and keeper of magic. She reminds us not to become too serious and that anything is possible. It is said if you focus on the coyote, you will "develop poise in the chaos of life...renew innocence...reawaken childlike wisdom." Yes! I love that.
If you hear howling tonight in the area of my neighborhood, it's just me. Feel free to join in...
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