Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Hate crying. Bawling, really. Think I need to see if my gyno can get me stronger b/c pills because somewhere a hormone has escaped or something.
Maybe it's the solar eclipse & the wind that picked up when we got home.
Maybe it's because tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox.
I think I posted this once before - it's my one & only short story.
I don’t know why Coyote chooses to come & visit me Especially considering that I’m a short, fat white woman; completely bound to concrete and sidewalks, flushing toilets, that sort of thing. I never really was a wild-woods kind of child. You’d think that Coyote would be out harassing some weather-beaten old Paiute or Apache elder somewhere. But no, he shows up on my doorstep, drinking my Guinness & looking around for leftovers.
Anyway, for some reason Coyote came to visit me, in his dusty blue jeans & sprung boots, floppy leather cowboy hat shading his ancient amber eyes. He squatted down on his haunches & scratched himself in places better left unsaid. After telling me a few of his dirtier jokes & reacquainting himself with the novelty of television and good Irish suds, he looked at me sideways & said, "You know, I’ve got a dirty secret."
Now, knowing Coyote like I do, this wasn’t a big surprise. He gets blamed for everything. And there are a few things he’s been blamed for that he really didn’t do. Before you laugh, notice I said a few things. I don’t think Coyote’s to blame for the religious right. Or Republicans. But the platypus and tumbleweeds and sticker-bushes... those are all his idea. So are handicaps and death... but that’s for another time. I wondered exactly what kind of secret Coyote would consider being dirty. So I asked, "It must be pretty bad if you’re calling it a dirty little secret."
He smiled his toothy grin, "Yeah, so don’t tell nobody else. I’ve got a reputation to maintain." At this, I laughed. A great big belly laugh came up from my toes. He waited for me to regain my composure. It’s hard to know when he’s serious or about to tell one of his nastiest cathouse stories. Even when Coyote was known as One Big Angry, he kept a grin under his nose.
“You see, once, way back when, back when there were still more buffalo than white people, I made that little joke about the rock."
“I remember you telling me how you voted Death into office."
He nodded. “I didn’t know how widespread it would be, though. Until one day I looked up & saw there were more people than buffalo. And that clued me in. Right away I noticed there was something happening. It wasn’t just the buffalo that were gone. Other four-leggeds, and six-leggeds, and no-leggeds were coming up missing every day. And more and more of your kind were taking their place." his yellow eyes glared at me briefly, and I just shrugged.
"Hey, man, this was before I even got here."
"I know, I know. But let me finish. I roamed the plains and the hills, and saw more & more people, and more & more dead buffalo. And then almost no buffalo altogether. No mountain lions or wolves. No big hunters. Only us coyotes and foxes... a few rattlesnakes. Saw a lot of cows and sheep and white folk, though." He polished off his third Guinness and held out his paw for another one. “You guys do make great alcohol, gotta give you that much. So, I’m out walking somewhere a little East of the big hills you call the Rockies, and I hear someone crying, and I go to look & see. Maybe there was something dead I could finish off, once their grieving was done," he licked his chops in reflection of road kill.
"When I got to the source, it wasn’t anything left to eat. It was a den full of wolf puppies, starving and scared. Someone had probably done away with the parents, or maybe they found poison bait or stumbled into a trap left for someone like me. I don’t know what happened to ma & pa wolf, but I knew then I was looking at the last of my cousins." He looked off into the distance past my porch, his yellow gaze taking in the early colors of Las Vegas sunset, "now you know how I feel about my family. I mean, they hate me and I hate them. But we’re still family."
"Been there, done that... So what did you do?"
"Well, I took up those pups with me, and starting them looking for sturdy sticks and twigs, and some pointed rocks, and feathers, and I started making arrows."
"Did you plan to hunt down whoever did away with the adult wolves, or were you going to have some shish-ka-bob?" At least Coyote had the decency (or pretended to have the decency) to look mildly hurt by the last comment. But what did he expect from me, compassion? Especially with my last beer in his dirty paw?
"No, ya stupid white woman, I took those arrows, and I built a stairway into the sky. I called together all the wild folk I could find to help me. It took a long time; too, because the higher I built it, the more of my help disappeared. But eventually I built that stairway all the way into the sky so those wolves would have somewhere to go. And if you look up, you can see them chasing the buffalo up there, too."
"And that’s your big, ugly dirty secret?" I tried to keep from letting him see me wipe the tears out of my eye - he’d never let me live it down.
Coyote only grinned, "Yeah, so don’t tell no one, ok? Especially where that stairway is. You & me, we might need it some day, too."
We have no symbolic vocabulary, no grounded mythological tradition to make our own experiences comprehensible to us. We have, in fact, no senior shaman to help ensure that our dismemberment be followed by a rebirth.
- Stephen Larsen, The Shaman’s Doorway
So what am I supposed to be? The shaman's apprentice, or the shaman?