The sacred space of grief

There is a place along a path I walk where a beautiful coyote took its last breath. He laid in rest there for the many cold months of winter until he was removed in the warmth of spring.

Copyright 2016 Yancy Lael

Copyright 2016 Yancy Lael

The weeds have grown around this spot, leaving the perfect outline of the wild creature’s body. Nothing grows there. Everything keeps a respectful distance. For now.

There is something beautiful about the space that death makes. It’s sad, and it’s empty, but it’s also a blank page. A quiet moment. An empty pocket.

Life respects this empty space. It keeps things clear for a time. Because the space must be acknowledged. The grief must be tended to.

From the outside, it may look like ruin. Plants may grow in a riot around this space. Life may be screaming all around the emptiness. And yet there it remains, still, silent, gaping.

What you can’t see, hidden underneath the surface, is all the magnificent energy building and growing. New life is always waiting to be born from this empty space. The ground where the coyote once laid may look barren, but in reality, it’s more fertile than the ground around it, boasting all those audacious weeds.

One day, when I walk that path again, I won’t be able to tell where the coyote slept his last sleep. That space will be filled with luscious green grass, swaying the in breeze. That spot will be more filled with life than any other place on the path. The bees and worms will swarm and squirm there. The Western Kingbirds that live nearby will visit for lunch every day. Gophers and snakes will take shelter there when a stranger like me walks by.

One day, the space death overtook will be alive again. Screaming, screaming, screaming alive.