Thomas Doty – Storyteller

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The Three-Legged Coyote

Near Tule Lake, in a lake-bottom field roughed up by basalt and drained by policy, I spot a three-legged coyote. I have to look closely to see that he's missing a leg. He walks without a limp, almost floats through the field.

This coyote has grace that transcends the television caricature of Wile E. Coyote and the wild west rowdiness of jokes of that three-legged mutt called Tripod. He has survived the cheap talk of a leg-hold trap and demands a good story.

In rough-and-tumbled basalt, with a shimmering coat and a tail that would make a fox jealous, this three-legged coyote glides with a four-legged gait through a field that was once Tule Lake.