Call of the Wild

Working at the bar in this damp cold town was a lonely and sad existence, that's why my decision was selfishly and hastily  made.  Gerimo  introduced me to three of the finest females these parts had to offer.  He knew my life between here and the long walk up to the cabin every night made me vulnerable to the company and warmth, one of these fine creatures could offer me. Like a damn fool I agreed to take, what I thought, was the pick of the litter as they say.

Her hazel eyes  told me she was shy, but I could see a spirit looming behind the glaze of her tears. There was a wild strength that manifested as she struggled to free herself from Gerimos  hold. Freedom in these parts for such a young beauty was  short lived and dangerous. Either she would be captured by worse than Gerimo and used as a sex slave or she would be eaten alive by the wild creatures that roamed these hills. At least I, being an older gentler man, could offer her a roof over her head, two squares and protection from the clutches of cruelty that prevailed in this land.

The five mile walk up the hill to the cabin was  a struggle for my old bones after work every night. If I could persuade her with gentle firmness or a bribe that coming with me to the cabin would be safe my walk would be easier. If I had to carry her or worse drag her, the night would be long and I might run out of patience. After Gerimo left with the others, I gave my newly purchased friend a meal good enough for a grand dutchess.  She did seem to appreciate the finer cut of caribou as it was fresher and more tender than anything Gerimo would have offered this once neglected and starving creature.

The night air was cold and as I slowly closed the door to the bar the darkness overwhelmed her and she clutched me afraid of loosing her way. The path was well packed and the snow gave me enough illumination to find our way up the hill. Along the way my thoughts wandered as the rhythm of my beating heart and her semi panicked breath marched us on. A name I thought, a name would be needed." What is your name"? I demanded. There was no response. Again more forcefully, I demanded, "what is your name"? She did not respond.

The cabin was simple but well adorned by my late wife. It had everything two people could ever want, table and chairs,  a sofa hand stuffed with wheat stalks, a bed with two pillows and wool blankets. The bookshelves were fully stocked and the kitchen had all the pots, pans and utensils a good cook could ever need.

The morning came quickly, my new mate was sitting by the fire place enjoying the warmth.  I approached and this time gently asked, what is your name? She looked back at me and shook her head. Alright, then I will call you Jewels, after your emerald eyes. Come with me Jewels, you'll need to earn your keep and a morning hunt for a rabbit would do us well. Over time Jewels became a natural hunter and was a superb partner in the annual caribou hunt. In the summer, we would fish together and gather provisions for the fast approaching winter.

During the winter Jewels and I became close friends and on the coldest nights she would even lay with me under the dusty wool blankets knowing I would never hurt her. When spring arrived Jewels  became sad and would spend most of her nights looking out the window as if something better awaited her. When I  came back from the bar she would complain. This sweet young thing was lonely and as true and as faithful as I was and she to me, she needed something I could not give her.

This day of course would come and I knew when I took responsibility for her, I was being a selfish lonely old man who would just end up loosing her to some young hot stud. However, at the time, her fate was worse without me and I took the good with the bad.

The warm Chinook quickly gave way to spring, Jewels grew more and more anxious everyday. Down right bitchy sometimes but it was her prerogative under the circumstances. I was feeling more like her jailer, never letting her go out without me. When I would go to work I would lock her in the cabin afraid she might bolt.  On my way back to the cabin under a full moon I heard the wolves baying in the distance. This had always made Jewels anxious, so I hurried back to find the cabin door left wide open and Jewels gone. Had she decided to leave this lonely old man behind to make a new life for herself? 

Worried what may happen to this now free spirit in this beautiful yet dangerous land, I followed her soft prints in the ever vanishing snow. Soon I found a second set of prints beside hers. Was this what she ran away for? Would he be able to keep her safe, sheltered and well fed in this harsh land?  At first jealousy set in, then followed by anger. I was to be left alone after all I did for her, all that I taught her. God dammit she would have been a mountains lions dinner  if it wasn't for me.  The night grew long and  these old bones could not keep up. The chase was over and I had to return to the cabin.

The spring was a quiet and lonely time . Most nights were spent sitting on the porch reflecting on my life, the woman I loved and this beautiful land God had bestowed onto me. With Jewels now gone there was  little to look forward to. I sold the bar and retired.

On a hot summer night I fell asleep slumped on the front porch. Thoughts of Jewels hunting, running, warming by the fire filled my dreams. The cool morning mountain air awoke me and I could see Jewels standing at the edge of the tree line. She took a few steps closer to make sure it was safe. From the thick under growth another figure appeared. He was a strong, healthy handsome male and I did envy him. I was tempted for a time to grab my rifle and let him have it, but my love for Jewels stopped me. This is what she wanted, it was where she belonged.

The handsome couple sat down on the grass and called into the woods. From under the thickets three adorable wolf cubs emerged all with green emerald eyes just like their mothers. Every spring Jewels comes to visit me with her new cubs. I wonder if Gerimo has rescued some abandoned wolf cubs this year?

This has been written to  remember the sled dogs that were killed in Whistler BC, to understand the human error that made it happen and to forgive the people who recognize the error of their ways.

Uploaded 02/05/2011
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