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MY PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH WOLVES

I don't know when I became intrigued with wolves. It may have been reading "Little Red Riding Hood", or Sherlock Holmes novels (there was always an atmospheric wolf or two in those tomes!) or watching films with the occasional howling wolf making a guest appearance to give a frightening edge.

I do, however, know when I first set eyes on a wolf in real life and how that affected me.

So, here's my story ...

Did you know?

Wolves are amazingly similar to humans in their habits and disposition - we both live in packs (families), we both have the killer instinct, we are both carnivores (well, some humans still are) and we are both affectionate to our fellows and will defend to the death our homes and families.
Interesting, no?

SO WHY DO I HAVE SUCH A HEALTHY RESPECT FOR WOLVES?

It was Winter 1996 in London and I was at the London Zoo. I'd gone to the zoo with my four year old charge (I was then employed as a nanny) and his friend and her nanny. Life had been rather difficult recently and I'd been very low, almost depressed. The cold weather wasn't helping my mood any either. To cut a long story short, I was facing some heavy decisions and my life was turning into one crisis after another.

I was standing near one of the food kiosks, waiting for the kids and other nanny to come back with donuts and drinks, when I felt eyes watching me. The hair went up on the back of my neck and I slowly turned around. There was no-one standing behind me, but I wouldn't have noticed them even if they were, as all I was aware of was the silver wolf standing in the enclosure four feet behind me, just watching. Watching me.

She was calm, reserved and, yes, frightening. Only a fool wouldn't be frightened of a large creature that could kill, if required, certainly maim severely if threatened. I could feel her strength and power and I knew very little of what a wolf might find threatening. So it was with a stab of guilt, I felt grateful for the large wire fence between us.

But then I felt, and that's the only way to describe it, a sense of gentle curiosity, emanating from her. I have no idea what she could see in me that would inspire such a reaction, but suddenly I felt like I was the creature on display and she was the one looking at me from the outside in.

Almost without any violition of my own, I took a step towards her. I expected her to back off, as I'd been told that wolves can be very skittish around humans, but she remained in her spot, still looking at me, almost looking through me. Then the most extraordinary thing happened. I tilted my head to one side, as humans are wont to do when checking something out - and she did the same, like she was my reflection (or maybe I was hers). She blinked slowly and opened her mouth (I know it was to take in more air, but I swear it was really a smile), and brought her head up to centre again. If I didn't know better (and maybe I don't) I'd almost believe that she was having a laugh with me. And suddenly, I felt totally at ease and almost comforted. And at that moment, I knew that everything was okay.

She then turned her head to look behind her and I saw a dark grey wolf appear from the other side of a small hill and walk up to join us. He stood gazing at me for a moment, and then nuzzled his mate along her ruff, playfully. They then both looked at me and slowly turned away, heading back to the spot he had been lying in earlier. As she got to the side of the hill, she looked back at me one more time and nodded her head, just once. Then they were gone.

A couple of weeks earlier, I'd been told that my animal spirit guide was a wolf. Having had no contact, or even interest in wolves at that time, it really didn't mean much to me, except as a point of interest to be explored at a later date. But meeting her like that, in a place that I found uncomfortable at best, and in the mood I was in, changed my perception and gave me a glimpse of a connection I hadn't been truly aware of.

A month later the wolves had gone from London Zoo. I don't know where they went, but that moment that I shared with her irreversably changed me - and so marked the beginning of my journey with the wolf.

... h o m e ...

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