WOLF SPIRIT (short story).

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WOLF SPIRIT (short story).

The bush plane’s skis touched down on a frozen lake in northern Ontario; from her co-pilot’s seat Amanda scanned the bleak winter landscape in receding light.  The fishing camp was closed and boarded up for the winter season, and would not open again for another five months.  They taxied to the landing dock and hurriedly disembarked.  Veteran Canadian bush pilot Hubert Hallihan and Amanda Clark from Montana unloaded two light packs, put on snowshoes and began walking a trail leading away from the camp, Amanda moving quickly ahead in the half light.   The mile trail led to a small cabin nestled among a grove of hemlocks.  The cabin door was unlocked, and within minutes they lit a fire in the wood-stove and located the generator.  Amanda took off her parka and heavy boots, the cabin was in perfect order, shelves filled with books, canned goods and an ample supply of firewood stacked near the stove.  Hubert began preparing food.  Amanda sat at the desk and turned on the computer, she immediately began opening files and searching titles, then found what she was looking for; “Morris Jamison’s Journal.”

“I have entered my 65th year and am feeling the effects of longevity.  The year is 2020 and the world is nearing chaos; cultural divide and intolerance are ubiquitous, as technology assumes dominance, diluting ethics and causing a decline in harmonious coexistence.  Technological advances have come quickly, indiscriminately gratuitous, failing to allot time to decipher effects and influences in a haste to implement foolish, self serving functions resulting in rampant exploitation and a loss of moral direction.

“In my salad days youth energy drove me, work became my master and I found success, as it is socially appraised.  Obsessive gathering of coin masked recognition of benevolent introspection, creating a lacking in spiritual awareness, and I now feel anxiety and despair as I recognize this failure.  My mind wanders, searching for enlightenment, a new beginning to a higher place that offers a more defined and meaningful purpose.

“During working years, each summer a few co-workers and I vacationed in Canada, at a remote, fly in, fishing camp.  We visited this same camp over a period of years, became friends with the Canadian family that operated the camp.  During these trips I felt a sense of conversion, refreshed, as if someone opened a window in a stale room.  The beauty and solitude of the north woods penetrated my soul, but this feeling of attachment seemed to erase when I returned to work.  I would call the Canadians on occasion just to ask how things were; they were always cordial and invited me to return.

” I remembered a cabin about a mile from the main lodge, thought it would be stimulating, awaken my spirit to live at that cabin for a year or two, absorbing the north woods directly, a means of moving away from the social decomposition, seeking sanctity in solitude which tends to mellow the mind, exposing new directions.  I discussed my plan with the Canadians, they said the cabin needed work, but it was in good shape overall and there would be no objection to me occupying the cabin, but they did emphasize that Canadian winters are challenging.  Ski plane service is available during winter months with a few months during the year when no plane service is available, during freeze up and again during break up, until the water is clear allowing float planes to land.  The Canadians were aware of my deep love for the north country, and that my decision to pursue this endeavor would not be considered without careful thought and planning.  I could set up a portable generator, connect my computer to satellite service and also have a satellite phone for emergency use.  I have several close e mail correspondents, allowing quality connections to soften lonely times.

“I drove to Port Loring, Ontario, chartered a bush plane to access the fishing camp and discuss details of my adventure with the Canadians.  I wanted to inspect the cabin and took along assorted tools and supplies.  My thoughts of this new course of life opened a youthful energy.  As the plane landed on the lake, memories were aroused of those grand times with my friends.  The splendor of the area is breathtaking, emitting a sense of purity.  My Canadian friends welcomed me and prepared a magnificent walleye dinner, and my plan was the center of conversation.  They offered me a room at the lodge; I stayed one night, but was eager to visit the cabin, determined to stay there regardless of its condition, evaluating improvement needs of what would become my new home.

“I hiked to the cabin the next morning and was pleasantly surprised.  The roof and chinking needed some work, but the stove and flue were in good condition.  I spent the next few days improving and organizing, hired a young man from the lodge to help cut and stack firewood.  He was able to estimate how much firewood I would need for winter’s duration.  By mid September things were in good order.  The computer and satellite phone were functioning charged with the generator.   The Canadians used a power driven hauler to carry in a 50 gallon drum of gasoline for the generator; they also carried in my food supply.  The lodge would close on October 1st, and they gave me a key in case of an emergency.

“My first cold fall evening was filled with emotion, feeling the warmth of the wood stove, preparing my meal.  It was late September and there was a chill in the air, a harbinger of what was to come.  I felt a fear/love emotion, and a cautionary enchantment.  I contacted several of my closest e-mail correspondents.  Amanda Clark was my most frequent writer.  Amanda is a tall athletic woman; she lives in Montana, working for the National Park Service as a naturalist and field biologist.  Amanda has spent many winter months in remote cabins while researching Alaskan wolf/caribou interaction and habitat, her papers on wildlife research have been widely published.  Amanda is a woman of great knowledge and experience regarding wilderness areas; she became my check in person.  One could not have a better check in person than Amanda.

“It is now mid December, snow has been heavy making the daily tasks of carrying firewood and getting the generator running more difficult.  Early one evening while reading my e-mail, there was a distinct scratching on my cabin door.  I grabbed my flashlight and opened the door.  Nothing in sight, but just off the porch, in the snow were wolf tracks, no mistaking them.  This was an odd occurrence.  Wolves distance themselves from humans; the few I have seen quickly turn and run in the opposite direction.  This strange event was on my mind for days, wondering why a wolf would do such a thing.  A week passed, and then more scratching, no wolf in sight, but a dead snowshoe hare was on the porch near my door.  The next day I skinned the rabbit and made rabbit stew.  Again scratching.  I opened the door, and just off the porch was a wolf, with penetrating eyes, fixed on mine, remaining about a minute, then turned and ran back into the dark forest, a haunting experience.

“Another week passed, no scratching.  I regarded the incident as a freak occurrence.  Then one evening the scratching returned.  As I went to the porch, there he stood again.  I shined my light on him but he remained stationary.  This was a magnificent wolf, very long legs, mostly white with flecks of gray.  He seemed more skittish than earlier.  I was cold and went inside to get my parka, thought he would be gone when I returned, but he had remained in place.  I did not know what to do – was without understanding.  As I was thinking of returning to the warmth of my stove thought patterns began to appear, as if the wolf were projecting thoughts.  It was disturbing, then mellowed.  ‘I am Wolf Spirit and have come as your guide and messenger.’  These thoughts were distinct and clear, and then Wolf Spirit turned and ran back into the forest.

“Each night Wolf Spirit  appeared at my cabin and projected thoughts.  Wolf Spirit told me I was chosen because of my desire to live in the home of the wolf, sharing an understanding and connective love of the wilderness.  Wolf Spirit said he had been re-incarnated thousands of times as a wolf, but his first re-incarnation was from human to wolf.  His people were nomads, ancient tribes following the mammoth herds.  They were hunters, creating a natural condition for his re-incarnation to a wolf, because wolves are also hunters.  After a time I realized that Wolf Spirit could also read my thoughts.  I projected to Wolf Spirit that I decided to come to this cabin to escape the chaos and decline of humanity, which seemed on a path of self-destruction, that may cause the Earth’s demise.  Wolf Spirit said, ‘Earth will survive; it is too powerful to succumb to human’s inability to harmonize.  This decline and failing will serve as a re-direction, renewal and growth, attaining an eventual zenith that will, in time, allow a re-gaining of balance with new direction.’  Wolf Spirit then became silent and moved back into the forest, as he had done previously.

“I was numb in mind, body and spirit, without words to describe this encounter.  I thought about writing Amanda.  She would surely think I had lost my mind.  Wolf Spirit did not visit my cabin again, but I would often see him during my snowshoe treks, always at a distance.  His lope was distinct; I would stop and watch him, there was a fluidness to his movement, such grace and beauty, mesmerizing.  How grand to be a wolf; yet harsh and challenging to hunt and survive.  The average wolf’s lifespan is 8 years.  As time passed Wolf Spirit was not seen, I worried about him, always looking for him as I did my snowshoe treks.  I researched the web to learn about the spirit of the wolf, discovering that the wolf spirit serves as a transitional guide for wolves and other animal incarnations.  The spirit of the wolf also has a connection with Sirius, the Dog Star, used by mariners as a navigational guide.

“As I listen to the nightly opus of the wolves tears form in my eyes thinking about Wolf Spirit, wondering where he has gone.  I am obsessed with seeing him again.  I agonize, with thoughts questioning the purpose of Wolf Spirit’s decision to visit my cabin, feeling a cretin spiritual power, a bonding.  I must continue to trek seeking my beloved friend, try to see him and connect once more.”

Here the journal ends.

Epilogue: “Dear Ms. Clark:  Corporal fielding and I have done an extensive search for your friend Mr. Jamison, by air and foot.  As we arrived at his cabin, we took note that there were snowshoe tracks leading away from the cabin.  We followed these tracks for over a mile; the tracks entered a large meadow where the tracks abruptly ended near the center of the meadow, with many wolf  tracks in the vicinity, but no sign of blood nor was a body found.  I regretfully report that we have given up the search.  We request, if possible, that you visit the cabin, examine Mr. Jamison’s effects, and possibly discover a clue to the event of events that caused Mr. Jamison’s disappearance.  We are at your service for any possible assistance.  Regards. Sgt. McNeil, RCMP”

Progression is a deliberate dynamic, creating opportunity, change and discovery, wending onward. Renaissance enters with or without a welcome mat, illuminating the passages to transformation.  The dynamics of change is a display of Universal energy, an unyielding force propelling forward leaving a wake of infinite transformations.  Earth began as a fiery ball of gas, evolving into a planet teeming with life.  One can observe transformations in all forms of life; also there is a progression of transformations within Earth’s stratum, resulting in formations of astonishing magnitude.  By the nature of its own inertia transformation remains an unshakable constant.  

I camped on the bank of the New River in West Virginia, and was mesmerized by the majestic gorge.  The entire gorge is solid rock, mostly granite.  I emptied my canteen, spilling the water over a rock; it dissipated quickly running off the rock.  As we wash our face with water, or drink it, we define water as a gentle substance, a soft liquid with seemingly little power.  Yet, when I view the New River Gorge, I realize this entire gorge was carved by flowing water.  300 million years of time, the New River is second only to the Nile in age.  I immersed myself in this glorious, breathtaking view, revealing how time and water have worked in unison creating this massive transformation.  Rock, in the short term, is more powerful than water; however, teamed with time, water can conquer, transform, carving a gorge.  

In mid summer, while resting at the property pond, I observed a caterpillar venture onto a stick that was partially attached to the land, but mostly floating in the water.  As the wooly critter transited this stick its body weight caused the stick to float away, barely off the bank.  The caterpillar stopped in the center of the stick, it was marooned.  In an attempt to escape it moved to the end of the stick, and the stick began to tip into the water.  It then moved to the opposite end of the stick, and the tipping repeated.  For a second time it retreated to the center of the stick, remaining there, finding balance but not solution.  Soon a slight breeze moved the stick back to the bank allowing the caterpillar to reconnect to its comfort zone on land.  I thought, as I observed this event, this caterpillar will soon metamorphose into a winged critter, offering no challenge to solve the stick enigma.  The caterpillars’s transformation is one of the most impressive in nature.  

As we humans transit our sticks of life we often emulate the caterpillar and its insouciant adventure with the floating stick, moving outside our comfort zones, we move in one direction and things become precarious, we move in another direction and the dilemma is repeated, discovering balance in the middle.  From this point of balance solutions usually appear.  Sages and spiritual teachers speak of the middle and its importance.  Life is a series of adjustments, as we shrug off our past, marching in cadence with the present, in a concert of preparation for our impending destiny.  From birth to death we are transforming, represented by distinct phases, each a preparation for the next.  Birth, infancy, childhood, puberty, adulthood, aging and death, reveal transformations.  Each chapter   offers a unique and special character, an anthology of experiences, evolving in separate spans of space and time, succumbing to the forces of change and providence.  I am in the aging phase now, and I have observed that during previous phases the pendulum swung with relative uniformity, creating a challenge to construe boundaries from one stage to the next.  At this stage of life, the pendulum distinctly slows, clearly defining this transformational period; revealing a culmination of consciousness resulting from life’s transit, opening a wellspring of awareness that was a not available when the pendulum was swinging with the vigor of youth.  

Observing the world in its present, collective state, upheaval and dysfunction are ubiquitous, questioning meaningful purpose and direction.  Are we an audience in the theatre cheering and empty stage?  Or, is there reason for the chaos.  Is it by design or plan?  The obscurity of understanding may be an element of transition.  We may be in a state of metamorphosis.  We may be in the middle of the stick.  It is uncertain; however, the necessity to transform is a certainty.  

 

 

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