By Kerri Romeo
Alice’s eyes adjust to the darkness in the forest. Near the trees is a figure with white fur and ears perked up. But this is not the white rabbit she had followed so many times before into the rabbit hole. Nearly twice her size with golden eyes, Alice’s heart skips a beat when she realizes she is only a few feet away from a wolf.
The surprisingly timid animal looks Alice in the eyes then retreats back into the woods. Alice had heard several dangerous tales of wolves, including one of a girl like herself who had been tricked by a wolf on her way to bring food to her grandmother. She decides maybe it is wise not to follow her curiosity this time. She is still so very sleepy…she dozes off again.
Unsure of how much time has passed, the sound of rustling leaves startles Alice and she sits up. Another wolf is approaching the area where she had just been asleep….then two…then three…then…Alice is surrounded by an entire pack of wolves. At first she is afraid. All of the stories she had been told flash in her mind (what big teeth you have, what big ears you have..I will huff and I will puff….wolf! wolf!) But then…before her eyes the wolves begin to frolic and play. Alice feels honored that they trust her. She clasps her hands in glee as three younger members perform acrobatic jumps off of rocks and chase one another around an evergreen tree before rolling around on the ground near a stream. Keeping within close proximity, the pack parents (both alpha male and alpha female) chaperone while they groom one another with affection. Alice remains respectfully at a distance. Witnessing.
A female wolf who is coming of age appears to be on the lookout. The quiet strength of her presence mesmerizes Alice. Alice tries to imitate her posture to feel what it is to be her. Alice knows the wolf will be the female leader of her own pack soon. And it becomes clear who will be her companion as the white wolf returns, escorting an injured member of their family to safety. The entire pack rushes to care for the wounded. The elder wolves teaching the young.
The wound was a direct hit by hunters.
Alice compares her own witnessing of the wolves to the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation; biblical accounts, fairytales with political agenda and direct political assignments. She is reminded of the story of the Two Wolves:
… “Which wolf will win?”
… “The one you feed.”Two Wolves, A Cherokee Legend
In our own society, what are the consequences of feeding the wolf of propaganda versus the wolf of truth? Religious, political and societal motivations have ostracized an essential animal to near extinction and in the process have we abandoned ourselves? Does our description of the wolf reflect our own ruthless nature more than the wild wolf? How can we transform?
Are spirit animal descriptions reinforcing the negative perception of wolves?
Harmony replaces leadership (oppressive connotation); Respect replaces fear; Patience replaces drive (cutthroat connotation); Intelligence replaces deception; Community replaces loner (a lone wolf is rare and a symbol of rejection); Acceptance (of natural order) replaces force.
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.