Paying Your Coyote Tax

animal spirit homestead story

My wife and I have a spigot on the upper part of our land that drips water every day. I could fix it, instead I’ve put a bowl beneath it so the animals of our forest can drink. Actually, I put a bowl beneath it so the coyotes won’t destroy our drip-lines. If we don’t do this, when things are dry, they’ll chew through the thin black tubing, spewing streams of water out across our land when the timers run (they have done this twice). We wised up and put out the bowl. We figured out how to pay our coyote tax.
I don’t mind many of the coyote taxes we pay as land owners. As I type this, birds are picking through some scattered chicken feed and bathing in the chicken water. Our hens chase them off but they return. We are feeding the neighborhood.
We almost paid a steep tax last week, the price was one of our hens. A hawk attacked a Rhode Island Red just out the back door. She fought back, our dog Bella charged in just in time, sending the hawk up to an oak branch. The hawk paused, calculated her chances before taking to the sky, for now. Feisty hen got away without a scratch.
We take so much from here, we need to return just a little. Perhaps we are inflating some animal populations by encouraging theft of our abundance, I’m sure any inflation is countered a thousand fold by decimation of habitat. After all, we are the real thieves.
coyote     We all have coyote taxes to pay, though we often don’t realize it. We think the way we grew up is the way nature intended. We think somehow our society has struck an honest bargain with Mother Earth and all is held in balance. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We thieve from the Earth on a scale never before seen. The coyote tax liability we’ve built up is far greater than any national debt could ever be. Some estimates state that we lose up to 10 million hectares of topsoil a year due to our agricultural practices, and thats after we have cleared away habitat. No tax can replenish that.
Coyotes scratch at our heels. They want a lot of the same things we do, affordable housing (in the form of burrows or small clearings for their families), access to healthy food, the chance to congregate and celebrate. They also want a conversation.
Paying our coyote taxes weaves us deeper into the landscape, the forest dwellers all appreciate this accession. Natures way is grace, even at her most brutal.
Allowing the faucet to drip is something easily critiqued by environmentalists and water conservation experts, they’re of course right, but not as right as paying your coyote taxes. We have to step outside the rational when we’re asked to pay our coyote taxes. If you’re going to be a part of something sacred, natural and bigger than yourself, you have to be willing to let go of your modern parts from time to time. After all, isn’t that what got us into this sticky tax problem to begin with?
The real tax, my real tax, is of course to follow my own spirit, answer my own calling. For the spirits, event Coyote, there are no taxes, just living authentically, from our souls.
I plan to build some small ponds on our land, once we get rain catchment going. I’m sure I’ll attract many visitors, including the larger predators in our neck of the woods. Our taxes wil increase, we’ll also become more a part of the woods. Grace.

Please remember to pay your coyote taxes, the returns are so great.

Photo Coyote by emdot
From Flickr, used under 
a Creative Commons license


  • Argus MacWargus
    November 27, 2012 - 7:56 pm · Reply

    I love the fact that, after years of admiring your land & your relationship with it from afar, I happened to be present during that hawk attack… ;)A side comment:”Allowing the faucet to drip is something easily critiqued by environmentalists and water conservation experts…”There’s actually a powerful counterargument to concerns such as this (even where coyotes aren’t involved). Worth considering, as part of a big-picture analysis of how we address our individual environmental footprints:

    • Tim Flynn
      November 27, 2012 - 8:39 pm · Reply

      Point taken, and – the systemic ills that need to be addressed will only change when we think of ourselves in relationship to nature differently. Saving nature as an object will never succeed, saving ourselves as nature will. Growing up assuming a coyote tax is the way to making the tough changes we need to make reasonable. We need to be running naked through the woods, if we’re going to be getting our heads on straight.PS – I took that hawk attack as a significant omen pertaining to the event you were at and acted accordingly. Now if we were allowing omens to guide our political activism, I’d be a lot more involved.

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