Saturday, August 1, 2009

When Animals Might Be Encountered: Wolves

wolves in snow Pictures, Images and Photos
I have written previously about my wandering years in the wilderness of upstate New York. There is still so much untouched land. There are hundreds of miles of woods and mountains that there are often stories of impossible animals in these lands. I had a summer encounter with a bear and while the experience was thrilling, I'm not sure I felt the ice cold fear and delight that I felt with my next encounter on a winter's night.

As an adult, I hate the cold and curse about titties and witches all winter long. I always forget that when I was a child, I love to be outdoors no matter the weather. We got so much snow in New York that you could make giant castles and eat snow inside. You could slide around on top of ice and pretend to be magical unicorns. You could turn a huge hill into a sledding park and run yourself into crab apple trees. It was below zero, but you didn't care.

I didn't let the sun setting early in winter deter me from my playing. Everything glittered so brightly in the moonlight. I loved playing in these woods that housed a huge stream. The water was so pure and fresh that I would break the ice over it and drink with my hands! I also did some ice skating on that stream with my sneakers. Sometimes my dog came with me and we'd just enjoy the brightness of an icy winter twilight.

One night I arrived at the stream and noticed almost immediately that I wasn't alone. I was 10 or 11 at the time and maybe my imagination was in hyper drive, but I swear that I saw a small pack of wolves across the stream standing there, staring at me. My dog was with me and instantly started growling. They could have been coyotes or even wild dogs, but to my child's eyes, these were wolves. They stood proud and majestic. They didn't move, they just stared me down. The stream was at the bottom of two very large hills so I was stuck in a slippery valley. I was terrified, but also intrigued. I didn't really think I would be hurt by them. This was probably a childish thought. After a couple of minutes of watching them, I decided that it would be best to leave.

It was hard getting my dog to leave with me. He was a protective soul. It was a little hard for me to turn away from those beautiful creatures. They were so still that they didn't seem real. The wind gently ruffled their fur and their shining eyes seldom blinked. I trudged home reluctantly and they did not try to follow.

Maybe I imagined the entire incident. I had an overactive mind as a child and was always in pretend play. I still truly believe this memory was real; a magical encounter in the moonlight with wolves.

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