The night is heavier below the canyons schistic brows, an ancient butte strength oppression that offers me a cool peace, a balm of soothing darkness for my worn, sandstone skin. I am tempted to join the shadows as I pass through their umbrance but the coyotes are impatient, eager to be done with their latransic geas, their beckoning cries leading me deeper into the dusk and to the first element of my triune.
The boulder rises from the ground before me, a fallen angle of marbled strength and patience, guardian to the five score tally of twigs that mar the ground like knife drawn wounds, dark scabs of remembrance marking out the days of your passing. Your presence is strong here, a weighted tyrian aura radiating from below the boulder, buckling my knees, pressing me down; urgent and insistent with your dolour.
Drawing the Anamnesis bag from my pocket, a delicate thing made of unspoken secrets and lost dreams, I gather the twigs carefully and place them in the bag. Each twig is unique- bent and gnarled with its own pain, smelling like the wet Copper tint of sacrifice and courage. Cinching the drawstring tight, your weight lifts from my shoulders and I sigh, my soft exhalation rising into the night and I know that somewhere, your burden has lessened as well.
Standing slowly, I rest my hand on the boulder, bowing my head in respect and thanks as I draw strength from his cool, metamorphic geology; his ancient tectonic presence a comforting companion for my hundred day heart.
Slipping the memory bag back into my pocket, a coyote appears before me, emaciated and worn, stark shaped ribs a story in Braille. He sits before me, patient and silent, digitigrade paws no longer wary; his once sparkling trickster eyes flat and dull- a heterochromia of ache and longing for the alms of my release.
Bending before him, I draw my knife and cut a shallow slice across my wrist. Dipping my fore and middle finger into the welling of blood, I trace a blessing over his eyes, throat and heart, releasing his sight, voice and soul from my compulsion, returning them to the carnivore sensibilities he has been long used to.
His contrition complete, he lifts his head to the moon and her negative, sun jealous light and howls- a long drawn out wail that celebrates freedom as his soul is released from the canine proportions he has always known, his body collapsing in on itself succumbing to the ravages of completion.
Two times two his companions cry- lonely, howls that overlap and chase the echoes of the other, each one a hallowed effort of bereavement for their fallen brother. With their howls fading, the two coyotes slip away into the night and move further East, away from the protective canyons and into the shifting dunes that ebb and flow with saltatious pride.
Pushing on, I follow their tracks that now shine with the full luminance of their brothers guiding soul as if moonlight has puddled in each of their paw prints. I am thankful for their company as I have one more task to complete before dawn smiles and ends the last of my kind.