Thomas Doty – Storyteller

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Porcupine

Mister Porcupine is one of my favorite critters. In the Old Time myths he has a dry wit and is one of the few characters who can outwit Coyote and get away with it. As he ambles through the stories he makes a marvelous sound: qoobin ... qoobin ... qoobin....

I'd heard there were porcupines up Juniper Canyon so I make the trek to have a look. I park my rig at the end of the road and crawl under the gate.

Near dusk the canyon is alive with the songs of birds, the glow of fall leaves and the slow swirl of fog that hugs the creek.

The only trails are animal trails. My tracks cover tracks of Jackrabbit and Deer and Raccoon, across drifts of sand the sagebrush has refused to hold on the slopes. Junipers look like shadows the gathering fog has captured.

Here is a world cars have never found.

My trail disappears. Five deer scramble over the ridge sending rock slides tumbling my way. The sky is full of fog and as gray as sand.

As I'm about to give up on porcupines and climb the ridge to the easy trail back, there he is: Porcupine Old Man, not ten yards away, cropping the fall grass. He is as large as a tumbleweed and not the least concerned with me. He moves slowly: qoobin ... qoobin ... qoobin....

We enjoy the stillness for a spell. I hear him chewing. He hears me breathing. This is a precious moment, right now and in Mythtime, shared by a couple of critters who love stories.

Shadows and fog follow me back to my rig, back from a world cars have never found.