Meeting with Wolves

by James Clair Lewis

I believe it was in the Spring of 1976, when I left Reno, NV on a journey. When I got to the beginnings of the Sierra Nevadas, I went off-road to walk over the mountain range. I followed no roads or paths made by humans, but instead used the natural contours of the land, and the trails that animals had made.

It took about two weeks, and I had a big stash of trail mix, plus rice & beans. I supplemented this with wild etible weeds, and got water from various mountain streams.

After a few days, I spotted a wolf far above me on the mountain. The next day I saw him again, but much closer, perhaps a mile away. On the third day, I was walking along chanting Mantra, when the wolf appeared before me across a meadow. He turned his head, signalling me, so I followed where he went. Whenever I got as far as I could along the way, but was about to lose the trail, the wolf would appear again to lead me where he wanted me to go.

Finally, I came to another meadow which had a large flat boulder at the far end. I climbed up on the low boulder & sat, waiting. Presently, the wolf came along, & we sat together for a few minutes. Then the wolf let out a call, and the rest of the pack appeared, and formed a semi-circle before me around the rock.

The alpha male then grabbed the hem of my wool sweater, so I used a clockwise turn of my wrist & pushed him away. Next he grabbed the hem of my wool sweater of my left arm this time, so I used a counterclockwise turn of my wrist, and pushed him away again. He was quite surprized that I could flip him at all.

He growled, so I stood up & spun my staff over & around my head once, and then sat down, placing the staff back on the rock beside me. This told them that I could fight, but I wasn't interested in that at all. I wanted friendship & respect.

They must have understood this, because the next thing they did, was to begin singing. I joined in with them, and we made quite a chorus together. I believe they were considering the possibility that I might join them as an honorary guest of their pack.

Then some hunters came along, and began firing into the air. As the wolves disappeared into the forest, the alpha male looked at me, and I got the vibe that I could run with them, if I could keep up. Well, I can't run that fast, or as long...

The hunters seemed to think that they had just saved my life, but I think that they had botched an opportunity for me. I continued down the mountain trails & soon found that I had successfully crossed the Sierra Nevadas into California on foot. I never saw those wolves again, but I will always remember that meeting, & I hope the wolves recounted it among themselves, as well.

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