Sometimes, I find the quiet descending.
“For a wolf, what is most important in life is not to possess a given thing or a quantity. It is to be a certain type of wolf.”
I’m in my room with this quiet. It’s not external. I’ve music playing , a bright light and a list of to-do’s yelling themselves out inside my head. “Tidy room, vacuum house, clean bathroom, change sheets, wash up, write novel, blog, read pharmacology book, do 4 bits of coursework…”
“The art of the wolf is grounded in its strength”
Yet I’m sitting here with a nice cup of green tea, feeling quiet and dark. I’m in the twilight and it’s calm as the snow outside.
Last night, I finished reading The Philosopher and the Wolf. It had a lot of aspects of two my favourite books; ‘The Sight’ and ‘Fell’ by David Clement-Davies, which are fictional accounts of a wolf-pack destined to bring about a curse. They deal with the issues of religion, morality and family. Two things I knew little about and one I have incredibly set values about.
As I remembered how those two books had been my bible during my teens, I found myself drawn to some of the passages in this Philosopher’s account of a wolf’s possible mindset.
“In the end, it is our defiance that redeems us. If wolves had a religion – if there was a religion of the wolf – that it is what it would tell us.”
Moments of Being
I’ve been wondering lately at this whole business of being in the moment, letting go of the past and what really defines us.
I guess I’ve been questioning existence. If we’re all energy in the form of quarks and leptons; atoms with shells of electrons… if our thoughts control our perception, if nothing really “is”; just a portrayal of our inner editor. If memories are purely impulses of neurotransmitter from one synapse to the next. If we truly aren’t an “us” and there is no “i”…
And yet, I know I’ll never know the truth. There is no knowledge. There only “is”. And it’s damn frustrating. =)
“Our moments belong to the pack, and we remember ourselves through them.”
The Cherokee Path
I don’t have the answers. I know there’s a wolf in me. There are two; fighting for food. And an ape; trying to manipulate them.
An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…
He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One wolf is evil — he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.
The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied: “The one you feed”.
These were the lessons I learned growing up; from the pack.
And it’s here I rest; in the void of unknowing. I remember my closest friends as I was growing up. Two are still my best friends and one of them taught me 60% of everything I know about compassion, loyalty and love; through his affinity with a wolf named Oalf. He’s still my close friend now and we are the alpha wolves of our pack.
In him, I saw the beautiful gliding of the wolf’s loyalty and love. In his heart I could see that gracious lope of pure strength.
“The wolf is art of the highest form and you cannot be in its presence without this lifting your spirits. No matter what sort of foul mood I was in when I began our daily run, bearing witness to that kind of silent, gliding beauty always made me feel better. It made me feel alive. More importantly, it is difficult to be around such beauty without wanting to be more like it.”
As all people, I’ve had negative experiences. So many teens turn to drugs, alcohol, music, writing, reading, games or television.**
I turned to my wolf-pack of one; my mate. And found my strength.
“I am an ape through accident of birth. But in my best moments I am a wolf cub snarling out my defiance to a pit bull that has smashed me to the ground. My growl is a recognition that pain is coming, for pain is the nature of life. It is the recognition that I am nothing more than a cub and, at any time, the pit bull of life can snap my neck like a twig. But it is also the will that I won’t back down, no matter what.”
Dedicated to my close friend Josh, and his Oalf.
May wolf ever walk beside you and grant you rest in his shadow.
May her paws ever guide your paths and may your howls be heard by all.
Sub specie aeternitatis,
* quotes from The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands.
** I’m not saying these are good or bad; everyone is different and I respect that.