"Honj yantsi byo catta demidoe howay dodinji.." ... the lyrics of a Shoshone Round Dance song "Go in peace". She sang this song as she rode with her string in SE Oregon headed for Nevada. I stopped to ask her about it and she translated to: "It is how a peaceable spirit moves and is and how it is beautiful."
She's lived nomadically for several decades in the desert planting wild edibles in her horseback travels....
An Extraordinary Life
I was very sad to learn that someone Alice and I met while out on the ranges, passed away the other day, Finisia Medrano. She passed away in Nevada of a heart attack. I considered her my "feral" friend and teacher of the wild ways. As with anyone who departs too early, I wish that I would have spent more time learning and asking questions and absorbing her knowledge.
She lived a very rough and hard life, but also admirable and beautiful - for its lack of constraints- a return to natural ways. A return to innocence. Finisia often described herself to a coyote.... a shape-shifter. She lived nomadically moving along the wilds across the west, living off the land .... no home with walls, no running water, no typical conveniences- but she kept connected and communicated with her phone. She described herself as "....the best and the worst of what a coyote is perceived to be".
She was true grit, teacher, and fiercely loved the wilds she wandered. She loved them so much, she planted 'wild gardens' in the barren deserts in her wake where she roamed. I felt honored to find myself accepted in her "circle", even though I am one of those "MF'ers" she often referred to, which live in the convoluted confines of civilization. It was an honor that she followed my stories of wild horses on page.
She lived her life on her own terms, as she she did so without fences and boundaries. Free will. She lived off the land, returning what she used- replanting along her travels through the deserts between Oregon and Nevada for years... what she called "First foods"- wild edibles which indigenous peoples relied upon for living and sustenance for countless generations before us. When we met her on the day of the photo, I had no idea there was a legend in the making. A legend already, but the world hadn't yet caught up to this feral spirit yet
She had knowledge I often relied upon and contacted her with questions of plants and wild edibles on the range- always ready with an answer and teacher along the way of replanting and survival in the desert west.
True grit and spirit, not without struggle, but the struggle that gained her own freedom, living life as she believed was good for the earth.
Part coyote, I'm certain. To some maybe a bit rough and known to give a sharp "nip" but not without reason and not without lesson.... But also wise on a whole other level of understanding beyond the grasp of the civilized world.
Wild edibles in the desert wherever she traveled are now growing, and as for her feral spirit I'm grateful for the connection to the wilder side. She is missed. But I'm certain I'll see her spirit in the coyotes that silently move in the hills we travel and among the sagebrush.
Go in Peace, Fin.... go in peace.
June 2016 We drove by her in SE Oregon with her string and she was singing .... "Honj yantsi byo catta demidoe howay dodinji.." We stopped, backed up, and asked about her song... She explained they were lyrics of a Shoshone Round Dance song "Go in peace"- which she translated to: "It is how a peaceable spirit moves and is and how it is beautiful."
After we parted we went up the mountainside and found a new wild colt. We named the silver buckskin mustang up in those mountains "Shoshone" in honor of the moment.
The original story of when we met at the time of this photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=883537138424971&set=a.108364459275580&type=3&theater
A short video about her life -
About First Foods: