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The Way of the Wolf……cont’d….part three

The Way of the Wolf……cont’d….part three

The hunter contemplated as he gathered wood for a fire, the wolf pack will travel over fifty miles each day over the harshest terrain while he and Dan would weary themselves covering half that much. No, he wouldn’t find the wolf pack by chasing it, through introspection and hard experience he knew that he’d have to call on his imagination in order to discover the wolf pack. The wolf was an adroit traveler.

He set the coffee pot in the blaze of the fire, warming his hands. The smell of coffee in a wood fire was a pleasure he never tired of. Life was harsh and unforgiving, but steaming coffee brought comfort to his weary soul. As he looked up the steep slopes toward the snowcapped peaks, he pondered: the wolf pack was ravenous; in the somber remains of winter, it had become increasingly hard for the pack to find sustenance, so it was on the move. As the snow receded, the unsettled herds of bison and elk would begin their migrations to the higher mountain meadows below the steep snowcapped peaks. The wolf pack would be there.

The hunter stood and looked across the chasm to the far ridge: up there is where he would find them. The hunter rejoiced in the warmth of the sun moving quickly up the morning sky. He marveled at the steadfast routine of clear days when everything progressed with brilliant precision, but he reminded himself of spring’s violent upheavals. He pulled up the thick collar of his mackinaw, removing the coffee pot from the fire to cool before he packed up to resume his journey. The endless hours of his solitary life were filled with contemplation, but he always came to the same conclusion: in consciousness he found disruption, not explanation. Dan was pensive, but once the hunter stepped up into the saddle, Dan never considered any other course. The hunter stroked Dan’s neck, and bent down to whisper in his ear, “We are underway again, my friend.”

The hunter moved with resolve because he had been hired to do a job, nothing else mattered. Like the wolf, his motivation grumbled in his belly. He rode back along the long ridge, along a trail that led down to the wide plain formed over hundreds of thousands of years by the relentless river. The hunter resolved to follow the river until he passed beyond the narrow mouth of the dark canyon, far below where the wolf pack had crossed the unforgiving canyon as it moved with fierce determination higher up the impressive mountainside. He knew that his backwards maneuvers would put him two days behind the wolf pack, but he understood that he wouldn’t have caught the pack anyway, not until the grumbling in its belly had been relieved.

In the broad river valley, the sun’s warmth was peaceful and brought the hunter comfort. When the sun was high overhead, he stopped along the river’s edge to build a fire on which he would boil coffee and cook the one piece of meat he had brought with him. From here on, the hunter would use his hunter’s skills to procure his meals. There was no need to rush now, he knew where he would find the wolf pack. His untamed life had taught him how to anticipate the austere motion of nature, and he understood when it became necessary to rush, and when it was unnecessary. It was unnecessary now. He ate the single piece of meat slowly, basking in the brilliant sunshine. Dan grazed along the plush riverbank. The hunter gazed towards the high mountainside. He’d been there before, and this is where he was headed again, along the familiar trail that traversed the severe mountainside. Dan’s head shot up with the hunter’s whistle. The hunter smiled. He had survived by his wits, but Dan belonged to that special brotherhood that had repudiated the hunter, and even when he thought of the wolf as his brother, the hunter knew the wolf didn’t look at him in the same way, and this saddened him. But he understood, because it was the way of the wolf.

The big gray wolf had taken the most severe route across the dark chasm because it led the pack along the most direct path to its destination. He sensed the need to take severe actions in order to survive. The wolf had been pushed to the very edge of extinction, and only through its fierce resistance had it been able to survive. The big gray always relied on his instincts, because his instincts gave him purpose, and if his instincts led him into disaster, at least his worries would be over. But yet there was an evil growing within the pack, an evil that grew with the hunger inside its belly. His instincts guided him to push the pack to its limits, and away from the evil. This was what defined it, this was the way of the wolf.

Before the sun set, the pack would be settled into the cold and dark of a higher ridge below the snowcapped peaks. The big gray wolf, who usually slept apart, slept blissfully inside the warmth of the pack, dreaming of the rejuvenation that would come with the warmth of the sunshine the following morning, and of his resolve to lead the pack into voracious triumph, while far below in the broad river valley the hunter slept beside the receding warmth of the dying ashes. He pulled the heavy wool blanket over his head, hoping to find some comfort and warmth in his heavy breath, and he dreamed of a life that existed for him a long time ago even farther below, where the broad river joined the broader river that wound its way through the disheartened population of the city on the plain. He also dreamed of the wolf pack somewhere up on the high slopes of the magnificent mountain still caped in snow. The wolf pack would still be there when he arrived the day after tomorrow, torpid after the fulfillment of its ravenous adventure. The hunter counted on the success of the wolf pack, it was his only hope to catch the pack off guard. Like the wolf, he relied on his keen instincts, but unlike the wolf, he couldn’t afford to relax. The pack had traveled far, and after its feast, it deserved a respite. It was the way of the wolf, it was not his way.

 

4 Comments
  1. Reminded me of owl creek. Nice to know you enjoy writing I enjoyed reading. Take care Dave.

    • Hello, Nena,

      Thanks for reading it. I’ll let you know when the story is finished so you can read the whole thing. I’d be curious to hear what you have to say. It was so good to hear from you. I hope you are doing well, and I’d love to see you if I ever get back there. I live in Longmont, Colorado now; I’ve been here for a couple of years. If you ever get down this way, let me know and we can get together. Thanks again.

      David

  2. Very good read✝

    • Thank you! I appreciate hearing from you, and I truly appreciate your comment. The complete story is now available on my website: davidwstoner.net. Thanks again.

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