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Wolf

29 August 2012 | Category: Stories | Author: Clare

Not so long ago I was pottering away in the cabin, working on the stairs probably. There are so many projects on the go now, I cannot remember the specifics.

As is customary, Breagha started to growl and bark outside, at what I initially assumed was nothing.

With River joining in the dialogue, I growled in irritation myself, and marched out onto the deck to reprimand them both for being so bloody raucous.

Breagha ignored my interjections like a precocious child, and dodging my legs in frustration, hopped around on the deck staring intently at the wetland.

At some point in the scolding it occurred to me to verify if in fact there was a grizzly bear wandering up the hill from the slough.

Dragging my attention away from the dogs for a moment, I saw to my relief of course, there wasn't. But to my surprise, there was a wolf sat not 10' from where I shot the bear a month before.

A big, black wolf.

I tussled Breagha's ears in congratulations at being so clever and introducing the visitor, rough housed with River a little to make her feel like part of the team, then hustled them both into the cabin and shut the door.

As a shooter and hunter, my first instinct is always rifle in these situations.

And having grabbed it from the cabin, I settled down on the edge of the deck.

But looking back across the slough, and finding the wolf sat immobile where he had been before, silent and stoic, just staring, any idea of shooting, skinning, cool teeth or hides just evaporated.

The wolf simply sat there, watching me.

I gently set the rifle on the deck beside me, crossed my legs and returned his stare.

That silent conversation felt like it lasted a lifetime.

I explained to a friend recently that when I shoot my bow, I tend to do it in groups of three arrows. The first two find their mark almost without fail, but the third always go astray.

I reasoned it was because with the first two, there was no pride, no expectation, no hope. Nothing disturbing the natural motion of shooting.

But as the first two arrows find their mark, distortions creep in; the effort is no longer honest somehow.

The hope that you will have that illusive three back-ended arrows, or a group so tight you cannot extract them easily from the target; pride, or hope gets in the way. Every time.

So it was no surprise that as I started to wonder at the ability of human's to forge relationships with wolves that frequent the same areas, the moment was broken, and the wolf was gone.

I had lost the honesty; clouded with hope, greed, sentiment of whatever sort.

As he got up, not looking back, and loped away, he turned side on and I was shocked at his size.

His tail was huge and bushier than I would have expected. His ears were larger and pointier than I would have thought, and he had a scruffy white patch on his chest.

He was beautiful.

He had no need of me, but had been intensely curious.

Whilst the same was true in return, the interaction was rewarding for both of us.

But it seems as soon as the honest curiosity is tarnished, and you start to hope to see him sat there again, to have him as a distant, but strangely intimate companion if only fleetingly, he is gone.

The simple difference between humans and the rest of the animal world.

They are truly free, and we are shackled by emotion.

A lesson in living in the moment, or loosing it altogether.
 


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