We need another and a wiser
and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.
In a world older and more complete than ours they move
finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost
or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings;
they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net
of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour
and travail of the Earth.
- Henry Beston
There are many lessons we can learn from the wolf …
They are independent thinkers, act alone and surrender to no one without a fight. They tribe or pack as they want to and become rogues, when necessary. The wolf has not surrendered to the ways of a group or succumbed to the ideas and demands of a system.
Their learning capacity is great, as survival dictates, and their reactions and responsiveness are incredibly sharp and finely tuned.
They live in packs linked by close blood ties, in which each wolf’s role is understood and serves the common good. They communicate with voice, face and body in ritualized ways that enhance hunting success and minimize combat between well-armed foes. Mates form close bonds, and all pitch in to nurture and train the young, a two-year commitment. Wolves usually tolerate and feed the old and less fit among them, depending on how it once treated its packmates. Wolves keep peace with neighboring packs by respecting territorial boundaries.
Wolves are friendly, social and highly intelligent. Their sense of family is strong and loyal and they live by carefully defined rules and rituals.
Wolves are always “seeking to enroll themselves” in a pack. Seven wolves seem to be the average pack size.
Wolves do not fight unnecessarily. In fact, they will often go out of their way to avoid it. The wolf teaches you to know who you are and to develop strength, confidence and surety in that so that you do not have to demonstrate and prove yourself to all.
The affection and loyalty of wolves toward their fellows – and the ability to convey them clearly – are the qualities we most value in our companion animals, direct descendents of the wolf.
The yearly rhythms of a pack revolve around the birth and rearing of each season’s litter of pups. All members of the pack show great care and affection toward the playful pups. They are extremely tolerant. If the mother or father is unable to care for them, then another member will adopt the young. Some wolves will even serve as babysitters.
Howling represent the “jubilation of wolves.” Wolves avoid unison singing. They like chords.
And how they leap! They leap upward as if pulled at the shoulders by a skyhook. That is their way of participating in gaiety. They have a lifelong gift for joyful play!
Wolf games include tag, wrestling matches, charge-and-tackle, keep away and toss-and-catch. They also bring each other gifts and toys for play.
Wolves are woven into their world in many ways besides predation. In their wide travels, they spread the seeds of plants that cling to their furry coats. That same fur is used by hawks and other birds to line their nests. They have forged a special relationship with the raven, which scouts for prey and takes its turn at the kill when the wolves are done. Wolves borrow dens from foxes and lend them to porcupines. The only fellow predator they haven’t yet come to terms with is the human.
Once we can see a tree, a wolf or our fellow man and woman for what it, he or she is, then the world will be very different. We will discover the brotherhood of humanity and reverence for all life, and foster this is others and in our children.
Respect for the wolf has directed me to organizations that work on their behalf. The links that follow will deliver you to their websites.
So, in this moon, we climb the hills
Lift our eyes toward the Wolf Trail
And remember that our lives
And songs are stronger
When we are together.
My scars are not from loving wolves...