Thursday, February 25, 2010

Intruding On The Wild . . .

OR IS THE WILD intruding on us?
Our whole planet should be "civilized" by now, shouldn't it? Under concrete and ticky-tack buildings? What use have we for the brown earth, green grass or wild things that nest, crawl, lope, and secret themselves along the hedgerows?
This morning on the way to work, rushing down the highway in my gasoline powered automobile, a sad sight appeared. At first I thought it was a large cat by the side of the road, but as I drew closer I saw it was the lean athletic body of the Trickster, Mr. Coyote.
It is shocking to see any animal left dead by the road, but this healthy looking, beautiful thing of the wild shocked even more. (The images are Life magazine photos hosted by Google. Top photo, 1970, by Stan Wayman. Bottom, in 1947, by Cornell Capa.)
The following is from a beautiful book by Hyemeyohsts Storm, a Northern Cheyenne, born and raised on the Cheyenne and Crow reservations in Montana.
"These, my Sisters, are my Gifts," he said, "and these Arrows are also your Gifts."
The Youngman then Covered three things of War that were in the Middle of the Lodge with the Coyote Robe. He also Placed the Robe that White Wolf had Given him, and the One from Otter, Under the Coyote Robe.
"Under Coyote's Robe is a Gift for Each of you," he Told the People. "They are for you who Sit in the North, the South, the West, and the East. Under Coyote's Skin are the things that will Give you Buffalo. You will not Hunger, nor be Alone, nor Lost."
The Youugman then Told those who Sat in the Four Directions to Pick their Gifts from Under the Robe.
"I will take the Ax," One said.
"And I the Lance," said Another.
"I will Have the War Bow," said still Another.
"I will Take what is Left, the War Headdress," said the Last.
The Youngman then Asked the Grandfather to Uncover the Robe of Coyote, and to Give Each of them their Gifts.
The Old Man Lifted the Robe of Coyote.
But the War Ax was Now a Fragile Pipe Stone, shaped like the Pipe of Peace. The Lance was Now Covered with the Wolf Skin and that of the Otter, its Point Broken, a thing that could not be Thrown. The Last thing was what had Once been Two. It was the Contrary War Bow Now Strung with the Straight Line of Feathers. The Eagle Feathers were Now the Single Brother Feather as is Worn in the Hair. And the Bow was Now One of Peace. It was the Thunder Bow.
"Which of you Now Wishes to Possess for himself the Gifts you See in Front of You in this Brother Lodge?" asked the Youngman.
They All Hung their Heads because they Recognized these things.
-- just a bit of "Seven Arrows" by Hyemeyohsts Storm - femminismo
Prayer for the Coyote
I don't care whether you are dangerous or dirty;
A threat, a plague, a vicious killer of wildlife.
I only see through you a way of life
That used to be and now is no more.
What joy you have known, what dangers you have faced,
What pleasure you have taken with food, drink, mating or
Enjoying sunshine -
Those were my pleasures too.


Steve said...

I think humanities biggest failing is thinking that we need to master the natural world rather than share it.

Steve said...

Sorry. "humanity's" that should have been.

Candace said...

Oh Jeanne. This has brought me close to tears.
But he's not dead, not even that one sad fellow. Now sprung up, it was a trick! A trick on you to have you remember, recall, recount for all of us here.
Thank you.
Candace (who completely agrees with Steve, btw)

ArtPropelled said...

During our early morning walk we came upon the body of the mongoose we'd become accustomed to seeing over the past year or two. He had been hit by a car at the spot where he always popped up to watch us on our way. So upsetting! Your coyote prayer could be my monkey prayer (though not a vicious killer the monkeys do eat every bird egg they find).