Member Rara Avis
Lumpy oatmeal makes me crazy!
An original story for Linda ~
The Woman and the Wolf
Thousands of years ago, man did not own the lands in the north-country and map makers did not delineate that land with pretty colors. Thousands of years ago, people lived off the gifts of the land, and created gifts to return to the land. Thousands of years ago, lived a man known as the sky painter. He painted vibrant colors in the sky. In time, he realized that the colors he painted were more beautiful and dramatic when painted on the black of night skies. The sky painter painted vibrant colors with such passion and power that they absorbed some of his power into the colors. The lights began to move and then dance wildly across the sky. The colors became deeper and more brilliant. If one listened, one could hear the crackle of their music. Their power grew.
The lights continued growing and moving and, in time, they realized that that which has been created – can be erased. In fear for their existence, the lights turned the sky painter into a wolf. As a wolf, he could travel and see the beauty of his creation. As a wolf, he would remain alone and unable to share his power with other beings. As a wolf, he would be feared by humans and other animals. The powerful lights deemed that the wolf would live through eternity, which allowed him to gaze upon his masterpiece of color and motion in the night sky.
The wolf did, indeed, live through the ages. He travelled the lands that once were the home of his people. The wolf sang under the moving lights, basking in their colors, hearing the crackle of their music.
Time moved through the air swiftly until the wolf became part of what we call ‘present day’.
On the banks of the Chalkyitsik River lived a woman in a small, sturdy and comfortable cabin with no around for hundreds of miles. She loved her home and the independence she carved into what was once very dependent life in a congested city. The woman had no family and no true friends. She lived a subsistence lifestyle, gathering wood and carrying water from a creek above the river back to her cabin. She lived on moose meat, caribou, berries and vegetables from her summer garden. This woman no longer answered to a name or a calling – other than enjoying the natural world around her.
She loved to hike and ski the trails she created. One winter evening, she was skiing far from her cabin and came across an unfamiliar trail. “Where did it come from,” she quietly wondered. Where did it lead? She swiftly moved down the trail and listened to the sliding of skis against an icy path. Rounding a corner, she stopped abruptly and her eyes grew wide. There before her was a lone wolf, laying right off the trail. He was close to starvation, each rib showing under what must have once been a lush and beautiful coat. He was still as he stared at her. He held her gaze with a steady gaze from amber gold eyes. His eyes mesmerized the woman. They almost seemed to spark as power jetted from them.
The winds swirled around the woman, softly whispering into her ear, “Please free me from this trap that has me caught. Please release me. I will not harm you.” The woman held the wolf’s gaze and as if hypnotized removed her skis and knelt before him. Her fingers clumsily sprang the trap that held him captive. The wolf seemed too weak to move, but she had no idea how to further help him. Putting her skis back on, she looked down at him with sad eyes. “I have done all I can for you,” she whispered in a broken voice. She hated to leave him behind, but knew by the time she returned with a sled to help him, he would be dead. Slowly, she began to ski from him and towards her cabin on the Chalkyitsik River. Her heart hurt as it not hurt for years.
Upon returning home, she entered the cabin and stoked the embers of her fire. Her cabin quickly warmed as she heated a pot of soup. The night was quiet and the stars were bright as she left the cabin before sleep and gazed at the sky. The lights began to appear and danced with a joy she had not seen before. Colors swirled and eddied above her head. As she watched, she listened to the familiar crackle that accompanied the dance … and she heard a shuffle-dragging sound that was not familiar to her. She stood still in the night and gazed down the trail from her cabin. Her breath caught in the frozen air as she saw two amber gold eyes looking at her from the darkness. Closer they came as the shuffle-dragging sound was louder. The woman held her breath, unable to feel fear and wondering why.
Can you imagine her surprise when the wolf appeared from the darkness? He was a dark shadow against the white snow. She approached him and laid a hand upon his ruff, fingers sliding into the guard hairs as she carefully guided him into her small home.
The woman laid a bed upon the floor for the wolf and poured him a pan of warmed broth. As he drifted to sleep, she tended to his wounded foot. She washed it, then covered it with an ointment and covered it with a clean cloth. The wolf remained with her, content to have her bring him back to health. They sat in silence together in the evenings, watching the lights dance in the night sky.
She became used to her companion. For so long, she had not allowed herself to feel friendship with others. She realized how lonely she had become and she dreaded the day that the wolf would be healthy enough to leave. The wolf enjoyed her quiet company and he respected her abilities to take care of herself and him. He watched her and saw how competent and courageous she was.
In time, the wolf did get better. The winter days became spring days and the days were longer and sunny. The woman began to prepare her garden and the wolf took off on long treks. She missed him when he was gone. He missed her. When they were together, they were always together. He was her companion. He was her friend and protector. And he was her teacher. When with him, she found the most lush berry patches. She fished in streams teaming with fish. She found stands of dry wood for firewood.
One day she gazed upon her friend, and he upon her. Their eyes locked and she realized that she loved this wolf. She, the woman who had loved no one, loved deeper than she had dreamed possible. She loved more than she had loved her family. She loved more than she had loved any man. The love she held for the wolf was built on trust. He loved her in the same manner.
They gazed upon the dancing sky above them one night, and the colors moved in wild gyrations. The lights were almost blinding as they careened from the stars to the mountains. The familiar crackle became a cacophony of notes. The lights the sky painter had created so long ago looked down upon the woman and the wolf. There was no longer fear that the sky painter would remove the aurora borealis from the sky – and they released him from the spell that had been placed upon him thousands of years before.
The woman stared in terror as the wolf before her became illuminated and electrified. His coat was lit like candle wick and his eyes glowed. His wolf form changed into a man. Not just a man, he was the sky painter. He was the creator of the aurora. They shared a love, that of woman and man; and they built a life upon her compassion and courage and his creativity and wisdom.
Did they live happily ever after? I can’t really tell you that; but, I can tell you that the last time that I saw them … they were very happy.