The wolves are exceeding hungry this winter, as they have lost their manners. The pack that shadows me is normally polite, or as polite as wolves can be, always granting the sporting chance. Not on this day of which I write. The weather, you see, has been rather extreme in its feathery precipitation. Blizzard and storm of late have emboldened them and weakened me.
Today, they barely allowed me to shut the door to the car before commencing to howl. Unnerving, that. Especially while driving on slushy roads narrowed by a superabundance of snow. To my credit I did not lose my grip on the wheel upon hearing that supernatural wail.
They are perceptive creatures with an uncanny ability to sense weakness in others. Hence their superlative skill in bringing down prey. Some may, and some have, regarded this practice of feeding on the weak as one of cowardice; to hunt in packs and pick off the slow or enfeebled or inattentive as a sign of unwillingness to 'stand and fight' on level ground, as it were. This belief is incorrect and overlooks the core truth that wolves are far from cowards.
Wolves, like any predators, are smart.
Cold winters in unforgiving terrain do not allow the cowardly and stupid to survive, at least not for very long. Wolves know implicitly that energy and time cannot be wasted. They do not write books on the topic of 'Minimum effort, Maximum gain', but they could if they possessed the 'civilized' gifts of writing and institutional knowledge. So wolves understand that to increase the odds of success, weaknesses and drawbacks must be exploited. This is the so-called Law Of Nature in a nutshell.
I understand this, too, if through the filter of being the prey. The weather calamities have reduced my ability to run, to hold at bay, these wolves that prowl the mixed forest of my mind. I am weakened, I am becoming inattentive. The energy to fight back is waning fast.
So it was this past Monday, when I dropped my daughter off after spending an extra day with her, due to that superabundance of snow I alluded to earlier. It was her presence that gave me balance on what was a difficult weekend, mentally. I found myself increasingly sad the closer we were to the destination, and when I leaned over to hug her goodbye I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest. I murmured 'I love you', she responded in kind, and I quickly returned to the car. As I pulled out of the slush and into the narrowed road, that unearthly howl went up in my mind, followed by the hairs on my neck. The road diffracted in a hot prism of tears and I choked back as hard as I could.
The wolves, they moved fast...they were hungry.