Sep 04 2011

The Coyote with Five Legs

Published by at 11:41 pm under An Ongoing Conversation . . .

The creature darted onto the highway just in time to connect with my brother-in-law’s front bumper. His daughter heard a thump but only saw a blur out of the corner of her eye, something hairy flying in the air towards the ditch.

“What was that?” Julia asked her dad as he quickly stopped the car.

“I think I hit a coyote,” he replied. “We’d better make sure it’s dead so it doesn’t suffer.”

Oh, yuk, she thought. This could be pretty messy. Even though she was a health caregiver, she didn’t relish the almost certain carnage she was about to see.

Stepping out of the car she immediately saw something on the road behind the car –a leg!

I’m not going to look at it, she told herself as she quickly walked by the limb, deliberately focusing on the ditch beyond. It must have been ripped from the poor animal upon impact. She could only hope that her dad would find it first and that it was already dead. There would be lots of blood from losing a leg is such a forceful manner.

Julia spotted the animal first. As she stared at its lifeless body she felt confused. It looked perfect, almost like it was just asleep. And it had four legs. She counted them twice.

“Dad, it has four legs!” she reported incredulously, still a little in shock at what had just transpired. “But I saw one of its legs on the road!”

“Well,” her dad responded, keeping the chuckle out of his voice as best he could, “he was probably carrying his dinner across the highway when I hit him.

So the leg wasn’t his, technically, unless possession is 9/10ths of coyote law.

As I heard my husband’s niece tell this story, I was struck by how traumatized she had been. How determined she was to see as little as she could, leaving her wide open to conjecture about having to view the gory details of a dismembered animal.

Julia can laugh, now, about the coyote with five legs –and we all laughed with her. But my mind wouldn’t let the story go so easily.

There was a time in my life when calamity and heartbreak, yes even tragedy, dogged my life like an unpaid landlord. Over time I found myself imagining events and outcomes of equal or worse devastation as were those that were really happening. Once I realized what I was doing I had to work very hard to stop these negative mental visualizations.

Perhaps it was then that I began choosing the direction I allowed my mind to travel –and understanding that there were always good things upon which to dwell. Contrasts between darkness and light, I chose light until darkness was overturned in my life.



7 responses so far

7 Responses to “The Coyote with Five Legs”

  1. Adrienne Hendersonon 05 Sep 2011 at 2:50 am

    To Our Wonderful Grams,

    Who not only chose light for herself, but spreads it around to touch others :)

  2. Patriciaon 05 Sep 2011 at 5:12 am

    Thank you, Adrienne!
    I love all of you more than words can convey.

  3. Allena Yslason 05 Sep 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Right after all, what an excellent website and educational posts, I’ll upload inbound hyperlink – bookmark this website website? Regards, Reader.

  4. kjerstion 07 Sep 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I think this post may have just given me some insight into my mother. or a new way of seeing an old truth. she could never leave my abusive father because she downplayed how bad it was for all of us and saw worse in the outcomes she envisioned. In her mind the unknown was always worse. To us the horrors she imagined were outlandish and highly improbable given the facts. but they paralyzed her…

  5. kjerstion 07 Sep 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I mean that to say thank you. I appreciate your openness and the food for thought it has given me.

  6. Patriciaon 08 Sep 2011 at 6:59 pm

    How sad for your family growing up. This is such a common occurrence that it is almost looked upon as a virtue –to endure and “stay positive” in bad relationships. The paralyzing effect of thinking that saying NO to abuse would bring worse results than current happenings is unfortunately understood by those who are doing the hurting. They play up a person’s worst fears to keep them trapped or cast shame on them for not exhibiting the “virtue” of loyalty in the face of trouble. RUBBISH!!!

    Equally unfortunate, religion often assists the one who is the abuser rather than the victim. It took me years to understand this, that it is NOT a virtue to “stay and pray” when you are being abused. There are no laws that apply that would keep an individual under the authority of a damaging person.

  7. Patriciaon 08 Sep 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Thank YOU for sharing!

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