Monday, January 25, 2010

on hearing of the coyote killing

"Willows never forget how it feels
to be young.

Do you remember where you came from?
Gravel remembers.

Even the upper end of the river
believes in the ocean.

Exactly at midnight
yesterday sighs away.

What I believe is,
that all animals have one soul.

Over the land they love
they crisscross forever."

William Stafford
All day I have been grappling with the grief I am feeling after hearing from one of my yoga students that the coyote in the 650 acre park across the street from where we live was killed a few days ago by those that believed it was becoming a threat to our neighborhood.

Recently, en-route to one of Momo's butoh workshops I had a conversation with a dancer friend (whose main dance form is contact improvisation) and we talked about how when you are in a dance class or workshop and are in contact with another human being there is an intimacy that is shared between you, an unspoken language that seems to surface that is beyond any ideas of what our minds may project or construct as to who that other person is... It is beautiful, like two (or more) souls coming together expressing themselves openly through dance...

I have also felt this intimacy when dancing with other beings both animate and inanimate, as inspired by Momo's teachings. And so, much anger and sadness is surfacing today in regards to how such a beautiful being ("It was a healthy, 45 pound male", my student said as I was choking back my grief) could have been killed. I do not want to know the details of how it was killed or how it was justified to do so. I'm sure it was just as justified as the killing of the last wolf in England in 1500, or in Ireland in 1770, or in Scotland by a man said to be named MacQueen in 1743.

Imagine... the LAST one...

In a recent National Geographic Publication about species facing extinction on our planet there is a photograph of the LAST 'dusky seaside sparrow' in a jar in some museum (view here)... the LAST one to be on this planet.

And I wonder if anyone else thinks about, where does the soul of the last being of a species go? I like William Stafford's view - it crisscrosses forever over the land it loves... like a beautiful web or matrix of soul-light energy...

Not that coyotes are facing extinction, but it is our shortsighted views that are so deeply challenging for me, that we are the superior species, and another species is 'threatening' and must be killed - like the last wolves in the British Isles.
"Because the heart beats under a covering
of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for
that reason, to be of no account?"
Jean Paul Richter

There are no words really to describe how touched I was to be able to dance in the dark of night last week with the coyote, within whispering distance at times. My post of that dance is here.

This dance today is one of sadness for the killing of the coyote, and also one of forgiveness as inspired by the theme of Momo's upcoming performance.

Sacred coyote, we honor you. Please forgive our species for not seeing the value of your life and the lives of other species, even though I am unable to forgive those that took your life at this time.

It was an honor to have danced in your presence, to have looked into your ancient soul eyes, to have seen your steamy breath in the cool, dark of the night, to have been the recipient of your playful, trickster spirit as you ran off for a short time with my mitten...

Sacred coyote, I dance in honor of your wildness and your calm, curious nature as you witnessed my dancing... today, once again, I dance in honor of you...

Music: Lisa Gerrard
Filmed by Brooke
See my butoh mentor's beautiful blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill


  1. I love this -- I've been feeling terrible too -- what a pleasure and relief to know this coyote dance was done, and on my birthday, so extra meaning for me to see and hear. Keep dancing, it is so beautiful.

  2. OUCH, this hurts! there was clearly a desire in that beautiful trickster to commune, to be seen, to share love & play---through you he lives on..
    just watched PBS/Nova tonight about the majesty & vanishing of the monarch butterfly-- this weekend-- it was the endangered orca---how much more destruction do we need before our dense human hearts & minds crack open and remember we are not the ONLY essential members of the earthly web of LIFE??!---each creature is an aspect of ourselves!!