Death in the Wood

Beetles were still picking at the bones. I came upon it returning from, oddly enough, a dead end trail I’d taken. It was maybe a hundred feet from a service road and maybe two hundred from the interstate. It looked to be a coyote. It was such an odd location I suspected a trooper had pulled it off the interstate and tossed it here to decay. Fur was sinking into the earth and the bones had been partially scattered by scavengers.

I stared at it. One day I will seep into the earth, I thought. I sat on a nearby log and thought it a good omen to consider death for a bit. There are many meditations for pondering death, one in particular, in which you allow yourself to see your body decaying into the earth, like this coyote. So I sat and imagined I was sinking into the earth with him. It wasn’t unpleasant. The day was warm, sunny and there was a breeze under the tree. After a time, I found his bones comforting, and with that the idea of mine vanishing into the wind, too. The whole eco-system benefitted from this death. Tree roots to small weeds grew from the carcass. Green iridescent beetles thrived in the marrow and took what they ingested back into the dirt. I’d have photographed him from a lying position, but for me there’s a line in my creative hunger at lying in a bed of beetles. Still the sun would catch the red of a ladybug or the green of a scarab taking off and I felt not the least sorrow or loss. One day I will be part of all of this beauty.

After a time, I felt less and less as if my body was sitting there and more and more as if the spirit of the coyote had taken a seat next to me. So we sat. My spirit and the spirit of the coyote and we watched the beetles take his body back into the earth. It was a lovely spring day.

For Steve and Juan. Lovely to chat about death….


The lake: Photos by Noelle

Winter is richness, not death. Riveting blues, stark vistas, animal tracks seen in a brilliant sun. After her tail quickly vanished into the ravine only her tracks were left on the snow. Cheeky coyote.


Free Bing photos

Free Bing photos

Early, before the sun is up. Breakfast half eaten against the back drop of autos heading into the city. I hear them yelping between the motors in the nearby field. The night was cold for summer, giving rise for them to howl for autumn.

I am pressed and clean for the day ahead, but their barks call to my wildness beneath the suit. All these routines and order, economies, mortgages and regulations. I stand at the window and listen. My heart beats faster with the next call and I realize it is not order I am hungry for, but the feel of dirt and the grass beneath my feet. To run and howl with abandon with my kin.

Alas, a deep final breath at the sill, as I turn from the window, checking my coyote spirit as I head for the door.


Image re-posted from Enchanted Nature Facebook page

Image re-posted from Enchanted Nature Facebook page

Quicksilver glistening
To night eye of
Iridescent trails
In an ebony and indigo wood
Shimmering bark
Drips to worn paths
Made rivers of
An even deeper blue

Moon glow fills
A darkened soul
Bright as
Jellyfish in a
Black sea

Coyotes yelp
Plaintive calls across a field
Tricksters of the
Night kingdom
Romanced like I
To sing by silvery