Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Coyote in 2016 Super Bloom, Death Valley National Park, California

Golden coyote stands among a super bloom of flowers, mostly desert gold, with mountains in the background at Death Valley National Park, California
I was thrilled see this coyote watching me from the Death Valley National Park super bloom. But local Timbisha Shoshone say he’s a warning, an omen ...

This particular golden-haired fellow was among the super bloom of desert gold and other flowers along Badwater Road. I stopped and he (or she) didn’t run off. El Coyote watched me watching him, in no hurry to leave. Perhaps he’s grown accustomed to humans?

That would explain why I saw another coyote (or El Coyote?) the next day walking into the Timbisha Shoshone village in Furnace Creek (Death Valley Indian Community). In broad daylight. By the main road. Unhurried. Looking at me.

I was driving to the tribal meeting hall, where Shoshone ladies sell Indian Tacos, shaved ice, and other treats to hungry tourists. Seeing El Coyote rattled me, but I put him out of my mind …

Until I overheard something unnerving. Standing in line to order an Indian Taco, I was behind two Shoshone ladies from another, related band visiting the park. They were talking to the Timbisha woman behind the counter. The older visitor mentioned seeing the coyote walking into the village and said it was bad luck. The Timbisha woman agreed, saying it was a warning.

Coming down to earth, the Timbisha woman added that the coyotes are a local road hazard. She also said that they’d been coming into the village mesquite groves to get water. (There are springs in Furnace Creek that water the mesquites.)

Before she took their orders, though, she re-emphasized: El Coyote was a warning. But about what? And for whom…?

Now, Learn a Bit of Shoshone!

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