The Coyote Lives…

This is a new “travel story,” and also a continuation of the previous story.  It is presented as fiction… one part of a serialized novel.  The events may be true but the narrator is a figment of my imagination…

Winter Solstice 2017 continued…

The waffles are delicious and the moment is almost here.
How to begin? I don’t know. Have I reached the wall? No, there is so very much more to say… The coyote.. The solstice moment. How did I get there? How much does the reader need to know to appreciate the significance of the experience? Can I capture the transformation of reality into fiction?

I started the ritual 22 years ago as an experiment. I used to suffer from severe Winter depression. How much of that depression was a product of my insane real world lifestyle… trying to be “successful” in a fucked up capitalist world…. and how much of that depression was a product of my own internal “chemical imbalances” is an open question. But I abandon my insane real world lifestyle and started my own little “imaginary revolution” to deal with the fucked-up capitalist world. And I started the annual ritual as an experiment to deal with the “chemical imbalances.”

My working theory on the chemical imbalances was rather sensible. Every winter, my emotional and mental health system would run slightly off track. The remedies I usually used to treat the sadness of daily existence no longer worked. I would have to take more and more remedies to less and less effect. It was as if my system was overloaded with remedies and they all just cancelled each other out and remedied nothing. I felt nothing in winter time… I felt dead inside. That is why I decided to try re-booting the system… my own internal system. How?

My four favorite indulgences or remedies that consistently brought happiness and joy to my physiological reality were fairly easy to identify: whiskey (alcohol), weed (THC), coffee (caffeine), ice cream (sugar). I decided to cleanse my system of all these remedies before Winter began so they would all have their full remedial power during the long, cold, dark, depressing Winter months. For no real reason in particular, I thought approximately six weeks was a sufficient time period to cleanse the system. So I started my first cleanse in early November of 1995. Actually, I think I started the first one on the morning after Election Day for symbolic reasons… It was the first Election Day of my adult life that I did not vote. But that’s another story…

So I went cold turkey on all four indulgences giving them all up totally and completely. No weening, no cheating, no finger crossing. It really was a bit like hell for the first week or so but after that it was kind of nice. It was a fascinating and healthy process to think actively about my internal biological system. I could feel my body changing… transforming. I drank lots of lemon water and herbal tea and I walked around with this notion in my head that my system was getting washed clean. And then, of course, on the moment of the Winter Solstice, I drank a strong Irish coffee with whiskey and whip cream and took a couple of great big bong hits…

The moment itself was rather glorious. Seriously, how much fun are humans allowed to have? But, more importantly, it was my first Winter in active memory that wasn’t depressing. Of course, in addition to the re-boot to my physiological system, it was also the first Winter after my imaginary revolution. I had freed myself from the shackles of the corporate Empire. No longer was I locked in offices and strangled by suits and ties. I spent a lot of time snow shoeing and cross-country skiing instead. I discovered the wonder and beauty of snow covered forests at night. My favorite remedies worked just wonderfully. I drank lots of hot chocolate with schnapps and coffee with whiskey. I smoked lots of weed and ate ice cream. I lived in a shack and had practically no money but I sure did have myself a fantastic time.

A few years later, I began my Winter world wandering and that pretty much took care of the Winter depression for good. Nevertheless, I continued with my annual cleanse. Indeed, I usually began my trips in early December so I was frequently in foreign countries for the climax of my ritual (India, Ecuador, Morocco, Thailand,…). Strange and fantastic things always seem to happen to me around the Winter Solstice time and I have written many stories about those experiences. Actually, you can read many of those stories if you look through the archives. This year is no exception. I am celebrating the big moment on Buddha Hill in the Catskills instead of in a foreign country but with all of the coyotes circling through my subconscious, strange and fantastic things will almost certainly happen…

I have always celebrated the big moment alone… a solitary ritual? Sort of, I guess. This was not planned originally… it just worked out that way. Ms. B. and I have been together for over 8 years now but she has never been present at the moment of solstice indulgence. This year is no different. O. takes his leave after waffles telling me he wishes not “to disturb my magic moment.” I give him an advance copy of my new book and a tiny piece off the gold nugget as a Solstice present so he goes away smiling. Ms. B., meanwhile, takes the little one into the bedroom to read books and nap. She tells me to “enjoy the show,” with a big smile before disappearing behind the bedroom door.

So, here I am, it is 11:11 on the morning of the solstice; December 21, 2017. The big moment is at 11:21. The dark roast coffee has been steeping in the French press and is now ready. I use a very big mug but only pour it half full. I add a shot or so of the Irish cream. I don’t want to spill it in the next ten minutes. I then retrieve my previously cleaned glass pipe from storage and grab the treasure chest from the front pocket of my backpack. I have all my provisions. I shall now proceed to my magical spot.

Just down the hill from the house there is a fairly good sized pond. Flowing into the pond, there was an inflow ditch. But that inflow ditch was overgrown and mucky. It is/was my job here on Buddha Hill to transform that swampy inflow ditch into a stream with waterfall, stone sitting area and stone steps that go down into the pond. In other words, instead of paying rent, I am using a swampy ditch as a canvass and rocks from the surrounding forest as my material to create a living work of art. I worked on the project quite a bit in the Autumn so it is about 2/3 done. The steps down to the water are complete and so are the beginning of the stream and the stone sitting area. The only thing really left to do is the waterfall. I will complete that in the Spring when the weather warms up.

With an almost full mug of coffee in one hand and the glass pipe in the other, I head down to the pond for my big moment. I sit upon a well placed boulder that is next to the steps leading into the water. The pond is mostly frozen now with a thin layer of snow blanketing the ice. The only part of the pond that is not frozen is a ten foot diameter circle of open water by the end of the in-flow stream directly in front of where I am sitting. There is a plastic pipe that runs from a spring up the hill and empties under the water by the mouth of the stream. This was added by the “owner” to overcome the overgrown swampy ditch. Now that I have dug out the ditch and turned it into a stream, the pipe is not necessary and I will eventually cut the pipe shorter and re-direct it into the top of the waterfall. But for now, at least, the combined force of water flowing from the pipe and the stream keep a small circle in this corner of the pond from freezing.

It really looks amazing. The pond itself is very circular and glittering with white snow crystals on top of solid ice. Inside the circle of white is another circle, a smaller circle… dark, mysterious, reflective, open water. The two circles together seem like some kind of ancient symbol… Presented to me as a gift from the gods on this incredible Winter Solstice morning.
I’m not sure of the exact moment because I didn’t bring a watch or cell phone (that would be cheating) but I did see the clock before I came down the hill and I do have a pretty good natural sense of time. It feels right. I open the treasure chest and pull out the nugget of gold. I break off a tiny piece and crumble it into the glass pipe. “Happy Winter Solstice. The descent into darkness has ended. Let there be light!” I click the lighter and inhale… cough cough, just a little bit… Tastes like heaven. I sip the coffee, whiskey and cream… ahhhh. How good is this life?

So why then, do I begin to think again, about the coyote? He showed his face as my morning card… again. The second time in a week and on the morning of the Solstice no less. And then there was my encounter with the live coyotes in the forest just a week ago. Why so many damn coyotes? What in the heck does it all mean?

The coyote usually means trouble. A mechanical or systemic breakdown throws my universe for a loop. Something goes wrong and messes with my reality. The jokes on me. The gods are going to teach me a lesson. Stop taking yourself so seriously! Says the coyote.

But there has been no breakdowns in my universe. Indeed, my life is going wonderfully. Today, for instance. I rode over Franklin mountain on my bicycle. No flat tires, no tangled chains, and no sense of overwhelming exhaustion. It was all good… Mr. X. was home and he gave me gold in time for the Solstice. Then I saw O. and he gave me maple syrup and a ride home to waffles. There were no run-ins with cops and no phone calls from lawyers or government bureaucrats. Everything went so perfectly today it almost seems like it was written in a story instead of happening in real life. So why then, did I get the coyote in my morning cards? Today has been like the opposite of the coyote.

Actually, it is not just today. My life, in general, has been going rather smoothly lately. First, we scored this absolutely amazing accommodation situation. We get to live in paradise here on Buddha Hill in exchange for my art (stonework). The house is a bit much for my simplistic tastes. Indeed, the “owners” have so much materialistic stuff here I can’t help but question what the old Buddha meant by the “middle path.” But I do love the wood stove room; the hot tub is nice when my muscles are sore, and we have played ping pong so who am I to complain. Actually, it shall be an interesting challenge for us psychologically. After a year (or two?) here in the illusion of material excess, will we be able to return to the reality of the under class?

The best part about living here is the outside. The hill itself, is like something from a fairy tale. There is a pond and a forest and a trail that winds its way through it. We are in the midst of a complex ecosystem of plants and animals and insects and fungi. There are falling down old stone walls and piles of stone everywhere. There is enough raw material for me to make stone stuff for years and years and years. At the present time, I am using the stones to create this waterfallish entryway to the pond. Just look at it. What fun! And Ms. B. loves it here too. And so does the little one. And I love them both very very much. We are like the happy family living in dreamland. My stonework business is doing well. I have a long list of happy clients and a good reputation in the community. I should be able to support us with steady income for many years into the future. My travel story book is done now too. It is about my trip to the Middle East and I really think it is the best thing I have ever written. I like it so much, I wish I could give it away to everyone. I will publish it in the coming year and I want the whole world to read it. So everything is going well… smoothly… I can’t really imagine how life could be better for us… Why then;The Coyote…

The coyote means trouble. Why am I anxious? What am I afraid of? Honestly, the thing that I am a little afraid of is the “Empire.” I started my imaginary revolution 23 years ago when I learned that the structure of the government and economic system that I participated in was based on continuous war. War against people from different places and people with darker skins. War against nature itself. I could no longer participate. I have criticized that system and government with words and deeds ever since. My words and warnings and suggestions have been, more or less, ignored. But now the collapse of the Empire seems to be accelerating. With the clown President figurehead, the capitalist wars are expanding in a last desperate grasp to gain control of everything. With the situation spiraling out of control, the Empire might turn a harsh hand against its internal critics. Even the irrelevant ones that no one ever heard of… That is what I worry about. I have a family now. I am against the Empire, but I don’t want to be a victim of its paranoid rage.

Will they ever come after me? That is what I worry about? I have a desire to teach the world about the imaginary revolution. It has really worked for me for 23 years and I want to share the concept with the world. But if I teach the world the “truth” about the imaginary revolution, the Empire will come after me. So what if I teach the world a “fiction” about a possible imaginary revolution instead? I could write a novel about a fictional anarchist stone mason who has a plan to orchestrate a non-violent revolution and engineer the overthrow of the Empire…

As I have this thought, I take another big hit off the pot pipe full of Malawi gold. And that’s when the miracle happens…

Holy shit! Where do miracles come from? Is it the moment of the Solstice? I don’t know but it could be. How many minutes have passed? The universe synchronizes. The elements interact; water, light, air, snow. It rises from the depths like an angel coming forth from the nothingness. It emerges at the center of the circle of open water. A giant bubble, as big as a fricken person. I see it underwater first but it breaks the surface and rises into the air. The sunlight hits the white snow behind it and causes the rising shimmering globular blob before me to sparkle with a rainbow of electrical color. It looks like the “companion” character from that episode of the original Star Trek series. It looks alive and ethereal and fantastical… pure energy, pure love. I cannot even believe my eyes. It sparkles and twinkles and shines as it hovers before me. And then, believe or not, it speaks…

Well, okay, actually it doesn’t speak. It pops and disappears into nothingness. But as it disappears I hear a voice. The voice is clear and distinct and it says…

“Don’t be afraid of the coyote Pat. Become the coyote instead.”

Well, okay, I don’t actually really hear a voice. I just have the thought very clearly and along with the giant bubble of sparkling light, it sort of seems like an inspiration. Not bad for a Winter solstice moment eh? A brand new book/novel idea. How about that; Buddha hill is as sacred as the Sahara…

But then, I see another bubble and another bubble and another bubble. They all rise up out of the water, catch sunlight and sparkle before bursting. The effect is spectacular. The water pipe comes out there. Air must be getting into the pipe up top near the Spring and somehow making its way down. But wow, it looks like there is a giant at the other end of a straw blowing bubbles. I couldn’t have done this any better if I planned it and used a pump. Wow. Just wow. With the sunlight on the snowy ice behind reflecting through the bubbles with electric rainbows, it really looks like a miracle. Unbelievable! I gotta get this on video. It will go viral on the Internet.

So I get up from my seat and run back up the hill to the house. I go into the guest room that I use as my office and retrieve my camera. I run back out of the house and back down the hill to my spot. The bubbles are still bursting with spectacular color as the sunlight shines through them. I aim the camera to capture the image. But the camera won’t work. Damn it. The icon indicates the batteries are dead. I don’t have a spare. I will have to charge it. The clouds roll in. The air bubbles stop. The miracle is over.

And the coyote laughs.

And the coyote howls…. Owooooooo!

So who is this coyote character anyway?

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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