I had a remarkable sighting the other day. Rather startling, in fact.
On my way home from Albuquerque I stopped at Onate Feedmill to get grain for donkeys and goats. A routine stop. Nothing out of the ordinary. But as I stood beside my vehicle at the loading dock waiting for the sacks of grain an adult coyote appeared scarcely 45 yards away in broad daylight, standing in the sandy road in full view. Unhurried, deliberate and unafraid, he looked back at me for what seemed forever as I looked at him in disbelief.
He was magnificent and regal in his manner. He came for a drink from a puddle created by a road-watering truck that dampened the dusty road ahead of me as I drove in. Coyotes are quintessential opportunists, and in the high desert where water is scarce, even a puddle is a prize.
Coyotes can live next door and never be seen. They survive by stealth and ‘invisibility.’ So seeing this magnificent one in full view in daylight, close-by, lingering as if as interested in me as I was in him, is a rare sighting.
I believe when animals grace you with rare access it is opportunity of significance. And when the encounter is a wild creature who lingers unhurried it is Life’s invitation to deep discovery.
Native Americans of the Southwest believe Coyote is Creator, Teacher, and Keeper of Magic. His influence stimulates and renews innocence and reawakens childlike wisdom in response to the world. He represents becoming again a little child through reawakening of the intellect, creativity, the artistic mind and intuitive faculties. Coyote is totem symbol of seeing the humor and wisdom of one’s life and its events.
All of this resonates in me. Two years ago I returned from my ‘vision quest’ to Naitauba Island, Fiji, with heart-mandate to reconnect with a boyhood I never knew. For reasons too complex to explain, I became an adult at age 8 — an 8 year-old going on 45. Over the past two years my enlightenment regarding life too cerebral and practice too ruled by “shoulds” has flowered into conscious move to grow down, not up; to “immature rather well.”
So, Coyote’s lingering intrusion into my consciousness that day at Onate Feedmill was welcome reminder to “… stimulate and renew innocence and reawaken childlike wisdom.”
This past Christmas my friend, Anna, surprised me with a Red Ryder BB Gun. I always wanted one as a boy, but never got the real thing. Cowboys and Indians were part of that boyhood in the shadows that refused to die.
They say it’s never too late to have a great childhood. It may never be too late, but it DOES take a paradigm shift in adult thinking. It takes embodying the wisdom and ways of Coyote.
My Coyote doesn’t know about my prize BB Gun and what it signifies to this Man-Child, but he and the gun belong together in my soul. It now hangs on the wall in my bedroom beneath two Charles Russell ‘cowboy’ prints, depicting the wild West of turn-of-the-20th-century old Montana … and the cowboy in me that lingers on.
At 69, my Scotties and I are getting in touch with the boy in me. We’re learning that Coyote wisdom is not about Roadrunners and mayhem. It’s quieter and more profound. It’s about adults rediscovering at the center of the soul the gold of a child’s wide-eyed wonder.
Joseph Harvill, publisher Great Scots Magazine