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Ghost Towns and Town Ghosts - Page 3

Coyotes’ Story

Page 2
Tumbleweed opened his eyes wide and seemed to be looking a million miles away. When he stood up and began to address me, he spoke with a strong voice.

“. . .when the Great Spirit had made all the animals, and the first man and the first woman he was very happy. The first man and the first woman as well as the first animals spent their first night in total darkness.

In the morning the Great Spirit asked if they liked the nighttime.

The man said ‘with no light, he became fearful of the sounds around him.’

The Great Spirit thought about it and then reached to the sun and broke off a piece of it. Then he crumbled some of it and left the rest solid. He placed all in his medicine bag. Then the Great Spirit said to the first man and woman, ‘I will place these small pieces of the sun in great patterns in the sky, it will be like the greatest beadwork across the sky. And from this time on when any man, woman or animal looks into the nighttime sky they will know that I exist, they will marvel at the patterns my hand created.’ But having created the world and all the animals and man and woman the Great Spirit was very tired; he needed to rest before he went about placing the pieces in the sky that night.

As the Great Spirit was sleeping and after the sun had set, the grandfather of all coyotes slowly climbed the mountainside where the Great Spirit rested.

So the first coyote said to himself, ‘It is true that the Great Spirit gave me plenty to eat, but I bet he has kept the best food for himself right there in his bag.’

Now the first coyote, like all coyotes are like a dog, and we all know that all a dog really wants to do is to fill his belly. So he quietly climbed to the Great Spirit. When he got close enough, he grabbed the medicine bag and started to run down the side of the mountain, but part of the way down he tripped and he spilled the contents of the bag all across the sky!

The Great Spirit woke up and cried, ‘Oh Coyote, oh Coyote what have you done? I was going to place those pieces of the sun in great patterns like a beadwork so all man and animal would understand who I am, that I am.

But now there is no pattern there is no beadwork to see.

Look what you have done Coyote!’

AND WE KNOW THIS IS TRUE! Even today when the great-great-grandchildren of that first coyote see the moon and stars at night it is in shame of the actions of the first coyote that they cry — ARRRHOOOOOOO! ARRRHOOOOOO! . . .”

I started to understand that he, the man, was only a small part of it.

It’s a whole lot deeper than that, but you’re not ready for that truth my friend. You’re close, but you’re not quite ready yet.

I remember when I was a kid; my grandmother would tell us stories about when she was young and all the things that befell her. I really loved those stories, even the ‘scary’ ones, in fact I loved them the most. But even then it wasn’t the ‘ghost’ or the ‘unknown thing’ that really intrigued me; it was the fire I saw in her eyes as she told the stories, she was in the ‘zone’ for those moments. I guess deep inside, even back then I wished I could be a writer. Then several years later I came across a translation from the Egyptian papyrus of Ani.
That which is named must exist.
That which is named can be written.
That which is written shall be remembered.
That which is remembered lives.
I knew that there were hundreds, even thousands of stories to be told; but for the most part the ones who need to hear these stories are too busy setting the stage for their own lives.

It’s usually not until we come full circle in our understanding of ourselves that we are ready for these stories, but mostly it’s too late then and all we have are memories.

Sadly that is the case for me, and I will forever have to live with the fact that I was too busy living my life to understand I was missing the best part.

The ‘zone’ that an artist falls into when the ‘calling’ happens is the place where, that artist is one with all that is. Even if you are not an artist or musician you may know what I mean. When you are doing something you really love to do and time flies by. You can be sitting in a chair but still be camping or swimming or dreaming in your mind.

For me, a good story can take me to those places. And the fact is that I only spent an hour at the station with the old man. Physically I never left, but in my mind, due to the telling of the story I was really there, camping and all!

. . . I finished my coke and sandwiches when I noticed the old man was getting tired and it was already 3:00 so I helped him bring in the trash and I paid for everything. Then I said goodbye to an old man that was pleased to have had someone to talk to.
As my truck began to take me past the old gas station I looked down at my envelope with that fancy list of official ghost towns and the map I had all marked up.

In a way it all represented my own mistaken belief that I had to look far from where my feet are to find something worth writing about, something worth thinking about. It all seemed like a real good idea, then I met Tumbleweed.

“Well my friend you and I will most likely meet again and if you’re ever in Texas we just might make eye contact and not even know it, but I hope you take a moment, at that moment and at the very least say hello. You will find me once in a while in a roadhouse on a main road, and if you do I’ll probably have my guitar out, rustling up enough cash to fill my belly and whet my whistle!

Mostly though, you’ll find me in those one horse towns, in the general stores or Mom and Pop taverns when I’m not out exploring.”
But if you want to hear one of Tumbleweeds tales, you don’t have to go to Texas!

You don’t even need to read one of my stories; No Ma’am! No Sir!
And that truth I began teasing you about a while back? Well, you’re ready for it now and here it comes:

“The next time you see an old pair of August eyes, buy a coke or something, and bring it to the person. While you’re lookin at em square in the eyes hand the drink over to him or her and ask, “You got any stories to tell me?”
“Keep looking in those ancient eyes, when they begin to light up in preparation to tell their tale you’ll see the veil begin to stir and then it may or may not lift completely, but that vacant look will be replaced by energy.

When you see it, when you see that ‘fire in their eyes,’ you don’t have to look any further my friend. That’s Tumbleweed!
“When you get there you’ll know. Then you will have to decide, will you stop or will you just pass by? It could change your life forever; but you gotta make the first move.”

Take care now, ya hear?

Gallivant Sojourner
© 2005 Stephen Osmon
Email: slowrite@hotmail.com
They Shoe Horse, Don't They?

June 22, 2005 Guest Column

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