03 February 2010


Darkness enveloped us, descended upon us with slow welcome inevitability. We rose and shook and yawned and shivered and stretched, we reveled in the cool shelter night provided. We ran, weaving between quick smell-rich currents of wind and under branches thick with sighing green leaves and between tree trunks crawling with ants and echoing with earth-pulse. We dodged and nipped and yelped, we sang long high songs to Silver Mother, listened with twitching ears to answers sung by brothers and sisters on the hills and glades and peaks and dales far and near. We ran, just to run. We sang, just to sing.
We sought brother bull Moose, chased him through the wet marsh clouded with fog, ringing with frog-voice and nightingale canto. We tracked him for long hours through the night, smelling his musk, his fear-scent, our paws splashing through his wide hoof prints glinting with miniature rippling moons, we caught him at the forest edge, trapped against a pond, my siblings circling around behind him, my mate slinking low through the grass unseen except for eyes gleaming green through waving stalks as I distracted him with deep growls and harsh barks. We brought brother Moose to his knees and feasted on his flesh, licked our lips and sang to his spirit rising up, sang gratitude and respect for strength and cunning to lead us on the nightlong hunt. At last Bright Father began to pink the sky in the farthest places, and we trotted with full bellies through the grass and the trees and curled in our den, tangled together and contented.
We were woken abruptly by smoke. It stung our noses, drove us, pups in dangling from mouths, through the forest with panic on our tongues, terror bubbling through us as we fled from the onrushing flames. Heat pressed down and scorched our coats, the yellow orange horrible hungry fire roared and popped and ate trees and sucked the flesh from bones of slower animals, our brethren forest-dwellers all around us fleeing scurrying hopping running fear bright in eyes and heaving in chests. We fled and swam the river, cowered on the other side and watched as a few failed to make the river and burst alight with rescue in view. We wept to see it, but were thankful it wasn’t us. We sat on haunches and watched the forest burn, howled for our lost homes, sang for Dark Eyes and White Fur and Broken Tooth who lay in the charred soil now only scorched bones and memories beloved.
When night sank upon us once more, we sang with fervor and sorrow for lost packmates and lost homes. We sang, and we ran. We ran, sniffing new pack marks and avoided claimed territory. We ran that whole night through and the next without song, paws light and ears pricked. Just past the rising of Bright Father we found a new den, a cave in the high peaks, sat on ledges as close to the star-washed sky as we could climb, singing songs to Silver Mother as she loomed brilliant and full behind us.

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