They told me that the wolf would not show itself unless it is trying to tell you something.
- Gudrun Pflueger
The smell of Pinesol and hand lotion
halo the bed as she softly hums.
Her arm slants toward the edge,
a narrow trail leading to the shoulder
that once carried the sun and shadow
of island pines as she walked inward
toward the wolf.
A path interlaced with vine and weed
held the tracks of the lone traveler
who dispersed white-tailed and slender legged
into the fog. A lupine ghost who seemed.
as illusive as her reason for pursuing it.
She found the creature curled against tree roots
clawing the ground with thick tenacity. No fear
was expressed from either species, only the blue stare
stemming from kindred eyes that knew each form
housed a similar spirit. The same breath
spidering into cold air and marking the forest
with its wild strain.
* * * * * * * *
The slow drip of a new drug enters her vein ;
she remembers snow dripping on snow
that had been traversed by light footsteps. The wolf
walked on the white crust with divine grace
as if the soul were levitating the body. As if the field
were solaced by its stealth agility. Bed linens
envelop her in layered cotton. Hours quilted
in quiet confinement -- but she rises leaving
her limbs at rest and drifts toward the window. Its metal
arch like the steel binding on the canoe
that ferried her to the island. A coastal
reliquary that had been keeping
her unknown rations Her ancestral instincts.
This poem was inspired by Austrian skier, Gudrun Pflueger who made a journey to a coastal island off the Canadian mainland to study the wolves. She went ashore with her camera and some wisdom gained form The First Nation, a North American Indian tribe. They told her the wolf was a very secret yet wise species. And like a prophet, only chose to be seen by other beings (outside the clan) to reveal something essential about themselves and their human pilgrimage.
She stooped quietly in a meadow and waited for them to emerge from the woods. Slowly one wolf came toward her unafraid and simply curious. Other members of the pack followed. Neither species, human or animal was afraid. At that point, Gudrun, formed a special bond with the lupine mammals. She drew from them strength, a sense of resolve and determination among other extraordinary traits.
Never forgetting that experience, she took gifts of revelation and newly discovered self-knowledge off the island. A few years later, when she developed brain cancer and had to survive intense surgery and chemotherapy, she drew again on that encounter with the wolf to sustain her. She journeyed back mentally and even in spirit to that sacred place. This poem is derived from and inspired by her story and her remarkable character.