I was lying in bed on election night, much later than I had planned, and I heard the coyotes howl. That far, high, mingled joyous yipping made me pause in my whirling thoughts (I can't believe it it actually happened I can't believe it) and breathe.
I thought, “The coyotes don't know.”
It's not the first time I've thought that. In the midst of conflicts that embroiled my whole local world, with fresh news of someone's latest lie or outburst on the lips of everyone I met (and mine, I'm no saint), I've gone down into the woods and found the tracks of the coyotes in the mud, and I've breathed deep of a cleaner world.
I realize the irony of the word clean here. When we've just started to make progress in not befouling our world quite so much, Trump's election—even beyond the human cost—could be a huge blow. The earth is fragile. What's going to happen? I don't know. The coyotes don't know either. They are howling, hunting their mice and rabbits, bearing their young. I thank God for them.
I remember sitting in a city backyard with the man I was falling in love with (my husband Paul), looking at the houses around us while he pointed out what would become of them without continual human effort. I could see it so vividly in my mind; all that winding mess of green, climbing, climbing, the insects burrowing and eating as all the human colors turn the earth-brown of rot and rust. The cracking of the pavement as the green comes through. I don't want people's houses destroyed, and neither does he—and yet my heart rejoiced. Because we forget, we forget the power that is in the earth. We think ourselves masters of it. God laughs.
It never ceases to amaze me, the cracking of a seed, the pushing outward, the reach toward the light. The opening of the power enclosed within. It's like creation itself: out of a hard little pebble, a tiny grain of dust or sand, comes Let there be life. It makes me want to worship. I believe it is the power of God. In times I've been shaky with Him on other matters, times my worship did not easily connect, I've called Him in my mind Creator of Seeds, and the awe has come.
I study history. I study occupied Europe during World War II. I'm trying not to use foul language here, but let's face it: the human world is an unholy mess. This is not the first time it's gotten worse and it will not be the last. People will suffer from it. We need to keep our eyes open for what each of us can do. I want to talk about that here, and I hope to do that soon.
But out in the night the coyotes are howling, this week same as the last, singing the song of what they know: Life is fragile. But it's very, very hard to kill. There is a Power beyond the power of arrogant men. It is enclosed within the smallest of all seeds. It is with us.