I blogged once in the past about Hotame and wanted to again when thinking about the initial event and what has transpired in the interim.
Hotame just wandered in one day from the woods battle scarred with open wounds and emaciated.
Stoic and standoffish as the result of what one can only imagine his experience had been with a burning hatred of anything coyote related which led us to believe he had more than one encounter with a pack or two – now a tail thumper, strong, solid, and always vigilant leader Winter and Sia flank if something is deemed to be amiss.
His appearance caused something of a stir for the unknown he was, but in approaching him I could see the pain in his eyes, perhaps even fear, but also a pathos that wanted to believe, wanted to have a friend, wanted to belong to something.
After a few moments I beckoned grandmother forward as she had stood aside after having warned me to be careful, she examined his wounds speaking calmly but confidently, then made a bed of sorts on the porch with a couple of blankets and began tending his wounds.
I’ll never forget once grandmother had made a place for him the tension in his body as I picked him up to carry him to the porch, then a shudder as he went completely limp as if to say it’s been a long road do what you will with me.
There were wounds to be cleaned and stitched, salves to be applied, healing songs to be sung and through it all he persevered never complaining, occasionally licking my hand, and once for a brief moment taking it between his teeth in such a manner as to only leave faint impressions.
Considering his condition I don’t believe he would have lasted much longer, but a genesis took place as wounds began to heal, weight was put back on and a gleam returned to the eyes.
Some memories die hard, some never do, and so it is when coyotes begin their song in the distance Hotame will bristle and grumble – he hasn’t forgotten, stands defiant and demonstrated on more than one occasion should any wander too close bad things will happen to them- and so they give a wide berth and confine any trash talking to a distance.
Dogs can suffer a broken spirit just as we can but having found his place hotame is a warrior, a valued clan member in every sense of the word.
Funny thing how friends such as these become family members, how bonds and mutual respect grow – a respect that celebrates the differences and allows them to be of the nation they belong to rather than a forced assimilation in an attempt to humanize them.
They are not of our nation and we are not of their’s, that’s not only the way it was meant to be but works for all concerned as it isn’t about “ownership” but friendship and respect.
In the beginning we were made of the elements known to us – earth, wind, water, and fire, stone from the earth – we were a strong people, made tough and able to endure like stone.
Our understanding grew and we fashioned stones into sharp edged instruments to employ in our daily lives, to defend and to hunt. We did this and found our place within the circle – we had no need of steel or the grief that always accompanies it.
The age of steel had not yet come to us, and when it did we would be decimated. In stone there is an affinity, an animism we recognized – in steel there is none – it is cold, impersonal, and above all indiscriminately deadly, belonging to a people completely unlike us, alien and different in ways we could not begin to understand. We are trapped in this age of steel now and we may never be the same again.
Our forward march was always in tune with the elements we were kindred to, a natural progression that went with the flow rather than against it, and so all things remained in the original balance Creator made.
The earth, the land, was the loving and beneficent mother whose breast we clung to and were nourished. We respected her, listened to, and understood the things she spoke to us.
We neither pillaged or raped the land – we constructed no barriers, decimated the forests, befouled the air she exhaled for us to breathe, or ravaged her body for monetary gain. We were brother and sister to all who shared her bounty.
Now in our separation we do as others do, those places we live show the same blight as the inner cities – vacant abandoned buildings where the night crawlers gather, broken down rusting cars and trucks, refuse piled in proximity where we eat, sleep, and go about our lives with poorly clad children scrambling about the monuments of decline in play, and perhaps in search of some meaning.
It is not enough to accept and embrace the conditions the nations find themselves in, pride lost can be pride regained.
Unwilling tribal councils should be circumvented and vacant decaying buildings razed – a tribal movement should begin to remove all this litter and the rusting monuments to the age of steel.
There is an undeniable responsibility that lays in accusation at the door of the oppressor, but likewise there is one that lies at the door of the nations – it is one thing to be beaten down and live in squalor without pride, it is another to be beaten down, live in squalor, and fight to retain some measure of pride.
It is fools errand to mark the days and wait for another to do something, it is a fools errand to mark the days and in an unwarranted act of reliance plead for the great black father to send a few blankets and trinkets to his distant children.
On this day while others gather at their tables to feast and give thanks for the destruction of the land, for a history fraught with betrayal, death, conquest, and greed, pause for a moment and remember who you are, where you came from, and more importantly where it is you would go – for now we have become like orphans, separated from the mother and not able to hear her voice as we once did – no longer nourished and suffering the loss for it. Casting about looking for direction, for the way home – failing to recognize that the mother dwells within us as is the way of all mothers, and in looking inward to find her we will find ourselves as well.