On January 31, 2024

Mountain Meditation: Trickster’s message: Lighten up

I haven’t been in touch with Bear Spirit for a while. I thought I’d let him hibernate in peace and quiet. But then I recalled I hadn’t shared all my interaction with the coyote who appeared in person and in spirit right before the snow fell.

I entered my Radiant Heavenly Heat Sauna and began my meditation. At first I visualized my feet in water which my spiritual teacher says is important. I stood in the trickling water in our creek that leads from the marsh to Roaring Brook. The leaves were soft with muck below, a slippery cloak on jutting out rocks. I climbed the loose bank and crawled into the heap of branches covered in leaves and grass. Underneath lay a still calm world with a bed of leaves dancing in dappled light. I invited a coyote to speak with me. Soon one crept in, sniffing the air.

“Mr. Coyote, thank you for coming. I believe you may have a message for me. I saw you cross our property and I’m curious about what you’ll say.”

“Thank you for inviting me,” Mr. Coyote politely replied. “It’s not often humans wish to hear me. You mentioned ‘your property’…really? You know better than that. It belongs to all living creatures on Earth. I am happy you’re willing to ‘share’ it, but it isn’t yours in the larger scheme. Earth was created for us of all to live on happily side by side.”

“What of our ground hog, chipmunks and squirrels who have disappeared since your appearance?” I asked.

“We are interconnected through the web of life, which continues long after we each disappear— we belong to species who depend on one another. Sometimes we take, sometimes we sacrifice. It is the law of nature and survival. We understand and accept this, too. Do you?” he asked.

I confessed, “Maybe not, really. I can’t stand to see anyone suffering.”

Mr. Coyote asked me directly, “Do you wish that my pups go hungry?”

“I see your point, but I still don’t like it,” I said.

“Then, perhaps you should be a vegetarian. What about plants? Do you believe they feel, too?”

“Yes, and I see what you mean. It’s true. I want nothing to suffer because of me,” I said.

“Good luck with that. Unfortunately, as it is part of living,” he said.

I was cornered and quickly changed the subject. “Do you have another message for me?”

“Yes,” Mr. Coyote said, “and you already know what it is. It’s in the column you just submitted. ‘Lighten up’ is what I have to say.”

“You’re right again. I take life too seriously. Laughter adds pleasure and years to our living.”

“You notice discrepancies and contrasts — often they’re funny. So laugh it up!”

“Thank you for your insights and sharing. I’m happy we met. Let’s meet again.”

“I am at your disposal.”

He could have ended with “ha, ha” which would be appropriate for what followed. When I went for a walk that afternoon, I found his calling card outside our ski house. Like a scolded dog, Trickster Coyote left his scat in the middle of our drive.

That might have ended our interaction, but soon our groundhog reappeared. I felt rather guilty for blaming the coyote, assuming he’d eaten the poor fellow for lunch. A few days later, I had eye surgery at UVM then returned home. That night, about 3 a.m., I was awakened to quite a commotion—a cacophony of howls, yips and yelps that I’d never heard before. Coincidence, synchronicity or a welcome home from surgery from Mr. Coyote and his family. Whichever it was, I still feel lucky that a coyote entered my life.

Marguerite Jill Dye is an artist and writer who divides her time between Vermont and Florida.

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