“In a sacred manner I walk” Black Elk Speaks
2012 was a year for coyotes. At home, I met them in the yard, and heard them singing in the night.
Then, as I stood beside a thinly-restored, strip mined Alabama landscape, I heard a vast coyote chorus insanely yapping at the setting sun, like demented choirboys mocking the efforts of a damaged earth to heal.
But coyotes do not mock the earth. These, after all, were heyoka tricksters of the Spirit, who only seem to lie,
And to ally
Themselves with what is most bleak and dry
Within the self.
In time, I come to see that they have drawn me out
Beyond my customary hunting-place,
To where I can hear their voices differently,
And now I see
The one that they were laughing at
Not “me” as I am at this moment, but “me” the scoffer,
The safely cynical,
The strip miner,
The heedless coal-consumer,
The one who “wags his head” at a humiliated earth and scolds the Christ for having dared to venture out
“See what happens?” I jeer. “What did you expect?” I howl.
But these coyotes have tricked me again,
lulled my well-defended soul into complacency,
And now I can hear them differently, laughing still
But no longer at the struggling pine trees and violated earth, but with them,
And with the resurrecting self in me
That loves coyotes and will not die.
“In a sacred manner I will walk,” they cry.
And in a sacred manner I will die, and burn like coal in sacrificial fire.
Only in a sacred manner I will walk and talk.
“Only In a sacred manner I will walk,” they cry.
Only in a sacred manner I will die.