howling with the wolves

To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn’t stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one’s place in the world. To say ‘I am here.’ To say ‘I am.
— o.r. melling
 photo from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Flickr stream. Click through to see original. 

photo from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Flickr stream. Click through to see original. 

I'm a city girl, granted, a small town city girl, but I grew up up right off North Main Street in my hometown. I'm from sidewalks and streetlights, a huge library and art museum almost within walking distance, the night sky with less stars and more sirens and trains in the not too far distance. 

As a child, climbing into the arms of my beloved huge, old dogwood in my backyard was my escape. The earth and the sky called to me with the promise of being rooted while simultaneously offering me a view of freedom from those tip-top brances. The wild was buried deep within me, heartbeat to heartbeat, waiting to emerge. 

Fast forward to 2012 and the phone call, a torrent of words rushed out of me, and she said, "wow. freedom is very important to you. The phrase you repeatedly said was, "I want the freedom to" Yes. Freedom is very important to me. 
A few months later,  another phrase was on repeat.

Spirit Uncaged

The beast was calling. 

It was never a bird behind those bars. It was always a wolf. I don't really know why. I know next to nothing about wolves but when I thought of releasing the spirit, MY spirit, I was releasing the she-wolf. It became a symbol of releasing myself to return to myself, to root into the very spirit of myself, the primal, the deep knowing, the instinct. The wolf was she and she is me. 

Wolves are almost like mythical creatures to me and hold a sacred space in my soul. I don't collect wolf figurines or surround myself with images of wolves easily because it is the spirit of the wolf, something that cannot be seen that is most important to me, that is the connection for me. 

There's more to this story. Now that you know all of that about me, imagine my reaction when my husband recently asked if I wanted to go to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge to the Red Wolf Howl. Yeah ... it was something like this:

Kristen Bell - Sloth photo kristen-bell-so-excited.gif

This time tomorrow, I will be on my way to the wolves. On Friday night, I'm going to howl with the wolves, to find my song, to listen for theirs. Call and response. A prayer. 

In interest of preparing and protecting a sacred space within for this trip, I will not be writing here for the rest of the week. I'll be chronicling the story on instagram and facebook. Please follow along with me there.