Coyote and I walked through the sunlit woods to the ravine. Old leaves and pine cones crunched underfoot. The pine trees released a crisp scent. Birds called to one another. Small animals skittered away through the trees. As we reached the top of the ravine the sun sparkled on the silver waterfall as it spilled into the creek below. A light spray kissed my face.

I looked into the ravine and watched as the sun stretched fingers of light far down, lighting up its mysterious depths; Mother Earth’s hidden places touched by Father Sun. The four elements surrounded me. Fire of sun above me, Earth beneath me, Water below me, and Air about me! I gave thanks for the beauty of the day and for the light and love of Mother Earth and Father Sun. My heart filled with the joy of the moment.

As I gazed into the depths of the ravine I was in awe at the power and patience of the creek that carved this ravine bit by bit over millennia. The water parted around rocks in its path and moved on determinedly until, over the years, the rocks finally gave way and crumbled into pebbles on the creek bed. The creek dug at the earth banks until they fell away. Trees toppled in its wake or clung precariously to the remaining banks. The creek created the ravine through repetition of the same flowing pattern over and over. Over the years the path of the creek was so deeply formed that it would be difficult for it to make any change in direction today. The path of the past created the path of the present and determines the path of the future.

Coyote grinned at me. He challenged me to see the lesson of the creek and ravine in my own life. “Kind of obvious isn’t it?” I answered. “Is it?” he said. “Keep thinking about it.” I did, and grinned back at Coyote. He just laughed and loped away.

 © Donata Ahern 2002, rev. 2010