So it is here near the mouth of the Platte river that I trace my first memory. I am standing outside on a small porch. There is a screen door behind me. It is dusk, neither light nor dark. A coyote is howling. I stand there listening to this repeated howl. Mesmerized and a tiny bit frightened. I listen for awhile, then in a quick bustle of motion, I open the screen door and go inside. That is all that I remember, but that howl went deep because I have held onto that moment, that call from the countryside, for forty years.
In many tribal traditions, coyote symbolizes a powerful storyteller, a trickster of sorts. Magic and humor are often involved. S/he teaches that things aren't always as they seem. And that sometimes to really learn something, we must be tricked into doing so. Coyote is also a shining example of adapting to survive. While many wild animals have struggled to make it in our modern world, this canine has found ways around our invasive human presence and even extended its range.
|from Daughters of the Moon Tarot by Ffiona Morgan|
Though there are many aspects of my life where I find Coyote's energy at play, I am especially able to link her archetypal presence to diabetes. To thrive despite this illness, I must adapt. I must listen to my body in the moment and determine the best course of action. Some days, weeks, even years are more difficult. Survival is not always graceful or pretty. Sometimes it requires scrounging, high risk, and many failed attempts. Often it is lonely. And then you remember you can howl. You can call in another who's been there. Someone who has wisdom to share.
Several years ago, I began working on a series of poems about Coyote's presence in my life. This is one I wrote, inspired by this memory:
How It Begins
Coyote called me
Cut across the Plains
Sharing air with winged things, drifting
Down at dusk
Startled me from some other slumber
Rippled my spine, my skin
Two years old, I
Inhaled my first memory
Like a birth breath
Coyote called me
I know because
I have spent my whole life
|Coyote Woman Waits by Susan Seddon Boulet|
[And it seem so very magical and fitting, that I am learning a great deal these days from a beautiful and wise Coyote Woman. The Autumn session of Pixie Campbell's SouLodge course begins on October 31st. She has created an inspired place to connect with your wisest soul self, other women, and the sacred Earth. Registration is open through Monday the 24th, and it would be lovely if you could join us!]