Our Brothers the Wolf and the Bear
Once one has experienced wolves or bears in the wild, one need not question the aboriginal peoples spiritual connection with them. They are both revered as totems for family clans.
I feel it a privilege to live where I can occasionally glimpse these wonderful animals in their natural habitat. Last night, standing on my front veranda I listened to the local wolf pack. I invited David to join me. At 85, and with a lifetime of living and working surrounded by Nature, his comment was, "they are talking to one another, like a group of women." It was not howling but a cacophony of sharp yelps and growls. I could visualize them gathered on a clearing about a quarter of a mile from the house.
People drive three hours from Toronto to sit by the highway 60, through Algonquin Park to hear the wolves. A park ranger howls to get the wolves to respond in kind. People always seem to be thrilled to hear this. The noble grey wolf is the epitome of "wildness": free, aloof, bonded in a pack for survival, willingly lead by the Alpha male and Alpha female, bonded for life, the strongest and the best.
While doing my dishes, alone with my thoughts, I glanced out the window to see a black bear saunter out onto the road. It stood there looking around as if not sure where it might go next, probably not caring for life is easy this time of year. It moves slowly as if to take in all that it can see. The dogs seemed to be excited at this stranger. they moved down the road toward it.
The bear stood its ground and the dogs chose not to rush up to it like they would another dog. In its good time the bear slowly returned to the bush. Only then the dogs went to seen where it had been, sniffing the ground but not following it into the bush. If people only chose to show the gentle bear such respect, and distance, we could all get along. The bear only wants it space, and no more, to live a quiet foraging life.
The Hiker's Notebook