Get on with your dying, Coyote urged. It is time.
I was scared. I was scared of the unknown. I was scared of letting go. Scared of dissolving my identity. Who would I become?
That is the nature of metamorphosis, Coyote said. You don’t know what you’ll be like once you’ve been transformed. Nothing ever stays the same, ever. Deaths and rebirths.
Coyote said it wasn’t that hard. He showed me. In a most violent, vicious and macabre way, he showed me. He climbed onto a barbed wire fence. His body got caught in the curls of sharp wire. He twisted and turned. He was in agony. I listened to his agony. He yipped and howled. It was a sad yipping. The yipping of one who is dying.
Coyote, I cried out. I could have cried out, Jesus. I could have cried out, Buddha. I could have cried out, Mary. There were lots of names I could have cried out and they all would have been okay, or right. But Coyote was the most right.
It took a long short while but soon there was no more twisting and writhing, no more sound. Coyote was gone. His spirit had flown. His body remained. A totem, a sacrifice.
Winter came the next day. Cold winds and snow. I went back to see Coyote. His fur was tinged in white flakes. His body had frozen. As well as his tongue. I stared and stared at Coyote. I fixated on the ghastly remains. That was all I could think about. Then, as if nudged by something in tangible in Winter, my thinking changed. I started thinking about Coyote’s spirit. How it had flown. Once I started thinking of that, Coyote’s voice came to me:
Forget the vessel, how it looks, the agony I experienced when caught in the fence. Those things belong to ephemera. They are temporary. My spirit is immortal. It has flown. A changing of realms has occurred. Dwell on the eternal qualities of my spirit. Dwell within the mysterious chambers of the heart. Has my death taught you nothing?
I went home and thought about what Coyote had told me. The next day when I went back his body was gone. Had it ever been there, I wondered. Had the whole death thing been a wise gag performed by a trickster god?
There was the photo. Proving that it had been real. But what of it? What of reality proved?
Metaphor and myth were the ultimate gateways to metamorphosis.
Buddha said, “In the end there are only three things that really matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things that weren’t meant for you.”
I thanked Coyote for his gift.
And gently turned the page to begin a new chapter.