coyotes call ... down in the coulee
sunset gilds the mountains ghostly gold
that old owl... he's hooting to me
the first star is afire ... as the night unfolds
shadows creep 'cross the valley floor
night winds, they are whispering 'round my door
I can't help but feel like I've been here before
when there were no roads or scars upon this land...
then the buffalo... were without number
their dust clouds darkened the prairie sky
the earth would shudder... with their thunder
overhead the circlin' eagle cries
before the first ploughshare split the soil...
the long grass danced above the untapped oil...
the horizon... standing fenceless and unspoiled
rivers ran unharnessed by the will of man...
tribes would wander... there without hindrance
the unshod painted ponies cut the trails
the foothills echoed.. with their hunt chants...
young ones learned from the old one's fireside tales
no concrete or glass cut the skyline
woodsmoke curled o'er tipis of lodgepole pine
still nights... unshattered by the diesel whine
the world stood unchanged in a man's natural lifespan
coyotes call... down in the coulee... coyotes call... down in the coulee
history holds her breath... as eternity unfolds...
... well ... picture this... a full moon over the Bow River valley...Calgary glowing like Disneyland upriver... the drop off of an old buffalo jump... a young man does his evening rounds, making sure all is well for the night with the livestock... a doe starts from her feeding at the haystack and bolts right past him... down on the flats an eerie chorus of howls drifts on the evening breeze... coyotes... circled and baying at the moon... time stands still; as does the young man... mesmerized by the scene... knowing it will stay with him as long as he draws breath... and when he picks up his old guitar in the little house on the edge of the coulee, the song comes rolling out in a minor key... and it is this tune that he plays for Luke on Ian Tyson's old Martin not too many days later... I came across two versions of this song just the other day; on a recording at least forty years old, now... Peter Cragg and George Bertok adding flourishes, and on one take; the woman making very believable coyote calls.