Laney backed slowly away from the birch patch, keeping her eyes upon the wolf. She knew the pack was probably close and did not want this mama to feel threatened and begin howling and growling. If she alerted the pack, Laney would surely be their lunch.
She had glimpsed four pups suckling mama before the wolf had spotted her and stood. I am very lucky the wind wasn’t coming from the other direction or the whole pack would be here by now.
Laney wanted to be a park ranger. This camping trip had been an experiment for herself and a test for the ranger service. She needed to know how to leave the park in the same condition it was in when she had arrived by helicopter drop, find her way out and most especially, survive. She had received a diploma from an online ranger school before the acceptance letter into a national park training course arrived in the mail. The course taught her a few emergency service procedures, how to interact with local wildlife species, low-level plant biology and survival techniques. All this, so that she could host tours through the mountains.
After four nights in, she had about reached her limit. Her hair was limp and tangled, she was getting low on water, and she stunk. I didn’t sign on so that I could be alone. I want to be with people. In nature. Yeah, sure, I learned about bears, raccoons, wolves, mountain lions and such, but I did not expect to see them all during this week! I guess they are just as curious about me as I am about them.
She looked at the wolf again. The wolf stared back at her. Laney felt an unusual sensation. Laney’s steps slowed and then stopped. As their eyes stayed glued upon one another, Laney felt the wolf acknowledge her. The wolf recognized that she was another living creature to be respected. A woman. A breeder. A mother. A sacred creator of life.
Laney’s eyes welled with tears and she sniffed. She nodded at the wolf and sensed the wolf’s relief when it began to lay again for her pups. Laney finally turned her back to the wolf. She ventured in a wide arc around the little family, checking her compass as she went. Her steps were lighter.