Winter. A thick blanket of snow covers the ground, and wraps everything in a crystalline white. Beneath this ermine robe, the world sleeps. Icy fingers dig deep into the Earth, freezing the hearts and minds of all who dwell there.
Still, within this tranquil landscape there is movement. Over this backdrop of slumber soars a single white owl; each beat of her powerful wings carries her silently from scene to scene, her ever aware eyes noting every flicker, every blink from the ground below.
Stepping from the trees, a black wolf emerges into the clearing. He stops at the edge, and surveys his surroundings before stepping out and down to the frozen stream a few metres away to drink. The water runs faster here, and if one balances carefully on the slippery rocks, a taste of water that will chill the very bones can be had. The wolf looks around one last time and lowers his head to drink. He drinks deeply, but even as the water fills his belly he remains thirsty. It is not his throat which is parched, but his spirit. The contents of all of the oceans could not fill the void.
A lone wolf is a curious thing, and perhaps it was this curiosity that caused the owl to circle around and light on the top of a tall white pine tree. Quiet as always; she surveyed the scene below. Wolves tend to be gregarious, and a lone wolf is generally an older animal who has served his purpose with the pack, an injured animal who needs time to recuperate, or an outcast from the wolf society. This one did not appear to be injured, and although he was getting a little grizzled around the muzzle, he was not so old as to have outlived his usefulness. It was if he chose to be alone – separating himself from the other dwellers of the forest, although he remained inextricably linked to the spirit that lives in all things.
That the owl should be there was somewhat of an enigma in itself, for she was far from her home. Her life’s path had led her to many distant lands, however, and she had journeyed to this place to meet with the council of elders. All of the peoples had gathered, the wolves and bears, butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers and ants. There were eagles and sparrows, cedars and oaks; even the rock people had come.
As the owl watches, she sees that the wolf is not truly alone – he has a mate, a cougar, and she brings with her a family – a dove, a fox, and a dragonfly. In truth, the cougar seems to be the mother of all, ever willing to extend a paw or a soft purr to any in need. The wolf and the cougar have known each other for some time, but it has just been recently that they joined – two loners coming together in love.
Closing her eyes, the owl thinks of her own family; among them a light beam of brilliant intensity, and a sky walker. The boy, becoming a man and yet still unsure of the path he must walk. She does her best to guide him, but it must finally come to him to make his own way in life. His essence is music, and it flows all around him. He must learn to blend the sounds together, to weave them into his fabric of existence.
The wolf was not aware of the presence of the owl at first; so complete was her approach. Now he turns to look at her, studying her every feature with utmost care. Quite a sight to behold she is, her white feathers glistening slightly gold in the sun, flecked here and there with black spots. Her spirit exudes a knowledge of the ways of the universe, and yet this worldly wisdom is accented by the fire in her eyes – a hint of mischief perhaps? He has not seen the likes of her in this forest before – from where had she come, and what was her destination?
As the days of the council passed, the wolf and the owl came to know and understand the ways of each other, and they became friends. Each was occupied with their own work, for there was much to do in sharing the knowledge that would be required to alter the destiny of the Mother and all of her children. The wolf also came to know that the owl and the cougar were friends, and the paths of the owl and he would certainly cross again. How the two paths would become entwined in time, no one could have guessed.
Winter becomes spring, and at last the fingers of ice must release their grip and give way to the expressions of new life erupting all around them. Change is the only constant, and everything must bend to the will of the new day or be swept along with the tide. For the dragonfly, a new experience every moment as he emerged into greater awareness of his world and all of the families around him. This had been the third winter for the fox, and she had enjoyed it immensely. She accepted the changing of the seasons with the casual wonder of a child, every day a new experience, a new world to explore.
As the wolf became accustomed to the home of the cougar, he became acutely aware of another member of the ‘family’ – the product of the wolf and the bear. He was the protector of the cougar and her children, and while he accepted the presence of the newcomer, the black wolf, he was wary at first of the wolf’s intentions. Ever the guardian – it would be good to know the cougar was so well protected by one who obviously cared so much.
Spring becomes summer, and the wolf becomes introduced to the other members of the ‘circle’, including the family of the white owl. Deep bonds are formed with several, as they become true brothers/ sisters. For a time, the lone wolf is uneasy with having so many around all of the time; his name was given for a reason and he feels almost trapped at times – an animal backed into a corner, seeking escape. Still, the children bring much laughter into his life, and he realizes in time that he can lower his guards, maybe just a little. With the children, he can escape into the world of magic and illusion, imagination and dreams.
Seasons pass, one into the other, and slowly things begin to change. The white owl and her husband part company, and although they manage to maintain a friendship, it seems strained at times by the silence of words not meant, feelings left unexpressed.
For the wolf and the cougar, life is beautiful for a time, every experience fresh and new. However, they have been brother and sister for a long time, and in time they revert back to the roles to which they have become accustomed. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for while they still love and care for each other, a realization dawns that the relationship they had for so many years is really the best for them. In truth, the perfect mate for the cougar is the bear/ wolf, but she knows it not.
In the second autumn of their meeting, the white owl decides to journey to a strange part of the forest, an old territory of the black wolf. They agree to travel together, for the wolf knows the way and can act as a guide. Although never fully expressed, a deep love and respect have developed between the two. They share many beliefs, many understandings, and many interests. Sunrises, rainbows, the healing power of love, the melodic sound of children’s laughter, to name a few.
The day after their arrival, the two meet and share a bite of food before beginning the day’s adventures. Many old favourite places of the wolf are bathed in a new light when seen for the first time through the eyes of the owl. As the day progresses, they find themselves beneath the spreading arms of a grandmother oak tree. There, the universe changed. Shyness masking uncertainty, hearts set ablaze by the crimson colour of the leaves, the two nuzzle closer and gaze past the layers to the brilliance of two souls igniting; complete alone, yet more complete together. The world falls away around them, and nothing exists except the whisper of her voice, the delicate softness of her feathers, the oceans in her eyes. Darkness comes unnoticed, until at last the two spirits intertwine, the plans of Creation fulfilled at last.
Returning home again was not easy, and furtive sideways glances required that a council be held. This was not some shallow affair, and needed to be set straight, so that all involved could operate from a clean slate. Commitments needed to be honoured, and while the council was not without tense moments, in time all involved recognized that this needed to be done. The cougar and the bear/ wolf discovered each other at last, and the husband of the white owl became entranced with the melody of a song sparrow.
Free at last, the owl and the wolf settled into what each had longed for so many times, for so many years. Maybe in an earlier time, the two would not have been prepared for each other, but once the discovery was made, nothing could equal the joy of two becoming one. Each day became special, each touch fresh and alive. There were times of uncertainty, of trouble, but nothing could interfere with the love that bonded them together. Their paths led them to many different lands, their combined love and wisdom drawing many from near and far to share with their knowledge.
Many, many years have passed, the moments too numerous to contemplate, and yet each one unique. Finally, one day, the wolf looks at the woman who has brought so much to his life and remembers how boundless love really is. With that thought, he closes his eyes together for the last time. The owl drapes a wing over his graying face and gazes into her memory one last time before joining him in their eternal togetherness.
Looking down, the Creator sees such a perfect example of what love should be and reaches down to scoop them up and take them to the next world.
Looking back on their beautiful life together, the wolf and the owl each shed one tear of happiness. Falling back to Earth, the tears are transformed into two feathers, one black and one white. Drifting slowly, the two settle to the ground, bound together in love.
Marcia and Me (without her inspiration, this would never have been written).