Today is my last day in Ely. What an incredibly healing, transformative and insightful week it has been. I said my goodbyes early this morning to the wolves at the Wolf Center as I attended the “Behind the Scenes” tour for members only – a chance to get close to the wolf pups Denali and Aiden. Denali was pretty sleepy this morning and all he wanted to do was nap un the branches. Aiden, on the other hand, was perky and hungry. As we listened to the curator explain how the pups were being socialized, Aiden contentedly chewed and licked a beaver tail (yummy!). They apparently had lots of venison last night!
Grizzer (gray wolf) and Shadow (artic wolf) spoke the most to me this week. I spent many hours this week seated on the ledge, with only a thin glass pane separating us. Many of us have experienced loss – loss of a loved one, of a dream, of a best friend, of a loyal companion. Shen (pictured on our bed) and Shadow (pictured on his last morning – July 2, 2007) were all of those to me. Shen died from cancer of spleen – it took her quickly and quietly. It was less than 10 months later when Shadow was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. I sometimes wonder if the pain of losing Shen was too much for him. She was all he ever knew. I rescued Shadow from the country roads of Owasso, Oklahoma in the summer of 1998 – a victim and survivor of a gun shot that took a small piece of his ear and left lead fragments in his skull. When we brought a shaking fearful Shadow home, that hot summer day - ribs protruding, infested with ticks and fleas, a bloody scab over his ear – Shen was a part of the welcoming committee. She helped him heal and it wasn’t long before they were best friends. Shen even taught Shadow how to catch a snake which wasn’t of much interest to him. Shen was the “wild” one – tossed snakes in the air, caught critters and howled like a wolf. She was definitely the alpha dog.
So this week has given me a chance to be with the spirits of Shen and Shadow again. Momentary as it has been, I am grateful to Grizzer and Shadow the wolf for giving me the chance to feel their presence in my heart again. Yes, my heart still aches for them. I doubt it will ever go away. But tomorrow, I will be welcomed by the slobbery kisses of Missy and Mister, the piercing meow of our cat Henry wanting food, the open arms of my partner – and for that, I am grateful.
and so, from Ely, namaste ("the spirit in me sees the spirit in you") my friends. May you also be blessed with a visit from a loved one, whatever shape or form it takes.