Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another Coyote Tale

And they all still came! The bold and brassy Bear; the sleek and cunning Cougar; and the elegant, high-flying Eagle. Even though they knew better, they still showed up. The rangy and rank Wolf; the racy red, ghostly gray and steel blue kit foxes all came, along with the crafty, and usually cautious, Great Horned Owl. Coyote even invited his brother, the stocky and stubborn Badger. They made themselves available despite their unimpaired knowledge of how chaotic Coyote was known to be. They made their way to the small table mesa by way of the cottonwood-encrusted wash just a few miles from the little river valley surrounded by red rock bluffs. Their arrival corresponded with the rise of the full moon in the crazy, mixed-up time of year claimed by Coyote himself. The mesa rose above the surrounding countryside as a platform topped by a single, long dead and mightily twisted Juniper tree. There stood a large boulder to the east and the surface was pockmarked by waterpockets in the sandstone and thin patches of desert soil. A medium sized pile of wood was placed to the west of the boulder, almost dead center of the island in the sky. With his keen yellow eyes, the master of mayhem himself rested on his haunches just in front of the large boulder watching their arrival, as would any respectful and patient master of ceremonies.

Coyote Storyteller

The whole idea behind this meeting came about last winter as Coyote visited the southern boundaries of his vast territory. The ground was cold, covered in early morning frost, and Coyote was hot on the trail of long-eared and fast-paced Jack Rabbit. Coyote was so close to the creature he could smell its fear and taste its flesh. As Coyote closed in for the kill, the rabbit veered to the right and cut through a patch of mescaline cactus. The rabbit's high-speed change of direction caused his powerful hind legs to spin out for a fraction of a second. Coyote spun with the rascally rabbit, but was hit in the face and mouth with pea gravel and bits of cactus. A button from the cactus pelted Coyote directly in the mouth, which caused him to lose concentration for a fraction of a second and eventually lose the race. Coyote was so put-out by the loss of breakfast that he bit down hard on the button in his mouth and swallowed it whole. A little later Coyote was still looking for food when he became nauseas and overheated. Before he knew it, Coyote was in an altered state. He experienced a heightened state of euphoria, then great fear and total loss of control. Several hours later Coyote awoke in a cold sweat and with high anxiety. Now Coyote was no fool, he knew the only thing he had eaten in the last several days was a cactus button. That had to be the reason for his delusional state. Coyote found himself another patch of cactus and sat down to think.

As Coyote crafted his plan, he gathered a large number of cactus buttons and made his way north. It took several months to refine his thinking and determine the perfect location for his ploy. Coyote's stratagem was to become friendly with the animals he intended to draw into his game. He endured the entire summer spending time with and gaining the trust of the targets of his ruse. By the time of year when the days became confused and cannot decide whether to be cold or hot he had their trust. Coyote invited the animals to a delicious dinner in their honor on a high mesa. A feast was to be held upon the next full moon. Incredibly, they agreed! Coyote went to work, he spent several days trapping Prairie Dogs at a nearby town until he had a large number of the fatally fat fellows. He took them to the top of the mesa, stuffed them and buried them in moist sand. Coyote then piled juniper bark for kindling and dry wood upon the carcases. The nearby potholes were full of water from recent rains, so there would be plenty to drink. The time was now, so he scooted up next to the large boulder, sat back on his haunches and waited for Moon to rise.

As his friends arrived they seemed skeptical, but their keen sense of smell assured them there was fresh game nearby. This calmed their fears. When everyone was present, Coyote greeted them each in a pleasant welcoming manner. Eagle and Owl rested comfortably in the branches of the skeletal tree and Bear, Mountain Lion, Wolf, the foxes and brother Badger sat in a semi-circle facing their gracious host. They seemed confused at the pile of wood between them, but were soon treated to a great spectacle. Each and every one of them was aware of Coyote's attempt to steal an ember from the great Fire God on Fire Mountain and his inability to control the flame. Coyote had turned the ember over to humans who were better able to manage the unmanageable. What the group did not know was that Coyote could re-establish the flame by raising friction in his tail. It was very dangerous, but doable. In an instant Coyote bolted upright, setting the group back on their heels and began running circles around the stack of wood. As he reached maximum velocity Coyote lowered his tail to the bare rock and ignited a spark. Before the flame became uncontrollable Coyote touched his tail to the base of woodpile and set it ablaze. He then raced to a nearby pool of water and extinguished the flame flickering on his backside. As the fire began to lick at the dry wood, Coyote bolted back to the boulder and regained his previous position. The animals were amazed and frightened at this fiery feat, but Coyote calmed them with his composure and soothing words. The animals relaxed and enjoyed the unexpected warmth, which sheltered them from the now cool evening.

As Moon watched and wondered overhead, Coyote began to regale his guests with exaggerated tales of personal might and valor. As the fire blazed and delicious odors of cooking meat permeated the area, Coyote's tales of wonder became even more magnificent. The animals tolerated the stories, after all they would soon be treated to a marvelous meal. When the fire died down Coyote sprang forth and brought up the wondrous morsels for his guests to feast upon. Someone asked what the prairie dogs were stuffed with to cause the unusual taste. Coyote assured the group he had discovered a seasoning that enhanced the flavor of the food, bringing them to the point of ecstasy. Everyone ate until they could eat no more, but no one noticed Coyote had not eaten even one bite. They all agreed the food was delicious, beyond expectation. Everyone ended their meal with a long, cool drink from the nearby pools. Again, no one noticed the taste that permeated the food was also in the water. Before long, Coyote's guests began to feel the effects of the peyote they had ingested. Coyote sprang to the top of the rock and began to retell his stories of the power and might; of his magic and incredible accomplishments. The entire group began to hallucinate. They experienced ecstasy and great fear, they lost control of their senses and Coyote took full advantage of their confusion. Coyote told profound tales of his greatness, and they believed. They experienced his glory through their clouded minds and became transfixed with his greatness. Just as Moon was setting, Coyote unleashed his coup de gras; he emphasized the fact that he was greater even than the stars in the heavens, Moon and the Sun in the sky. At this, Moon trembled at the sheer audacity of the statement and, upon setting, informed the all mighty and powerful Sun of the con being committed and Coyote's bombastic boast.

Hearing of Coyote's intonations and great boastfulness, Sun exploded upon the horizon to thwart the sham. The great orb lit the world with his wrath. It appeared there was a great fire in the cloud-filled sky; brilliant rays of light split the atmosphere. Coyote had anticipated this reaction. Standing high above his guests, Coyote placed himself directly in front of Sun and took full advantage of the light and color. In their drug induced state, the delusional animals bore witness to the incredible magnificence of Coyote's aura. Coyote had stolen the power of Sun through deception and deceit. The animals could not bear to stand so close to this newly formed deity, so they slunk off to their nests and lairs to contemplate their supernatural experience. As expected, upon their recovery the biggest, strongest, highflyingest and most intelligent of the creatures began to espouse Coyote's greatness. Before long every creature in the land believed in the majesty of Coyote. The entire population of creatures began to pay homage to Coyote; they brought him food and exalted in his presence. Coyote was King! Sun looked down upon the fools of the earth and wondered at their gullible nature. Although he was increasingly angry, Sun decided to take no further action, he simply stood back and watched, knowing reality would one day set in and the counterfeit monarch would be disrobed, dethroned and kicked off of his mesa top. Beware the Coyote.

With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

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