12 August 2009

Skywatch Friday: A Coyote Tale, as told by the Whiskeyjack People

When I stop for lunch or a handful of gorp while hiking, I always leave some food for the Whiskeyjack People (from the Algonquian wiskedjak; aka Gray Jays). These cheery souls have several times led me to bedded elk -- they like to feast on the entrails -- so I stay on good terms with these Trickster People. As I stopped for a pot of tea and a nap while on a hike along the Continental Divide in the upper Big Hole River valley near Butte, Montana (see previous post), they told me this story:

Sun rose in a clear, blue sky. Soon the day became very warm. The Bear, Red Squirrel and Blue Grouse People were very happy as they watched Whitebark Pine's cones (full of tasty pine nuts) ripen:

Bull Elk Person was not happy. Warm Sun made the flies active and they were biting the shit out of him. Shamefully he wallowed in mud, soiling his beautiful blond coat (photo of elk wallow):

Coyote saw this and went around telling all the other People what a miserable bastard Sun was to make Bull Elk suffer so. Sun heard this and was shamed. He raised moist air from the valleys and it formed puffy clouds as it moved over the mountains:

By sunset, the clouds were big and rain fell:

As the air became moist and dark, the Mosquito People danced their war dance and came forth. They bit the shit out of Coyote, but all the People just laughed. Sun laughed so hard that soon the showers passed and a rainbow lit up the sky (with my neighbor's horses guarding the pot of gold):


All of these photos were taken in a single day. The first three while on a hike (see previous post), and the last two after returning home to Walkerville (near Butte).


Photo Cache said...

Very cool post. That last image is simply fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Loved that story, put that together while you walked, did you? The moose here make mud stomps like that in the woods, probably because of the black flies and mosquitos.

That was one fine day's worth of photos.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow.... Fabulous post--and what a gorgeous area of the country. I can only imagine how much you enjoy hiking in the MOntana mountains. The pictures in this post and the last one are phenomenal. Thanks!!!!

Loved the story!!!

Arija said...

I almost got distracted from your lovely photos by getting so engrossed in the story. Delightful post!

J Bar said...

Great colours in the sky.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

The Crow said...

Is it my imagination, or has the rainbow cast a shadow on the misty cloud behind it?

Delightful, engrossing tale, illustrated with fantastic photography. Thank you, ER.


Anonymous said...

Very creative post! I liked it! :) Looks like you had a wonderful day of adventures. Happy Friday! :)

Regina said...

Wow. These are awesome. The last is

Lola said...

That rainbow shot is sublime.
Thanks for your kind words my way.

Carol said...

Nice series of photos and a fun story! Thats a beautiful rainbow.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

ER: That was a neat mountain trip with some great sky shots. I loved you rainbow.
BTW: I think the Oaks were just old and at the end of their life.

Powell River Books said...

Interesting tale and I loved the last shot the best. A friend of mine came to Butte to become your superintendent of schools. When I worked with her in California she always talked about how beautiful it was up there. I've moved north as well. I invite you to come see my "coming home" sunset. - Margy

Quiet Paths said...

Truly a super post. Story, photos and creativity combined! I guess Walkerville was named after yourself!

Lisa Wilson said...

Wonderful post!

Janie said...

Funny. Great mix of Ecorover and Native American storytelling!
Beautiful photos, too. I love the rainbow.