Two wet noses, followed by two wagging tails, led the pace, briefly stopping on a regular basis to sniff the flora, while I lagged behind studying the treetops and the understory for sign. Big trucks sounded off as they traveled down the distant highway; becoming barely noticeable in their varying degrees of consistency.
Then I heard them, oh so quietly, it was almost indiscernible. Their voices were soul-stirring, mind blowing, I heard them; the wolves! They beckoned their pack members, but they did it only when the trucks rolled by. I could only surmise that although this was part of a wilderness area, there were also some private homes interspersed and that the wolves were using the truck noise as camouflage, and especially taking advantage of the "Doppler Effect," the fact that the sound of a moving object will be higher pitched the closer it comes to an observer. Whenever the trucks screeched the loudest, that is when the wolves would howl!
The wolves were exercising caution; taking heed, being on guard, keeping out of harm's way, using their survival instincts! I found this both interesting and also somewhat melancholy, that they would practice such reserve in expressing themselves. The wolf, the wolf's howl, are embodiments of what we once were, of what we still long to be. That intangible essence called freedom.
As we walked back, I went over the scene again and again in my mind. Visualizing their eyes, the color of their hair, their size; letting it become a part of my memory, another remembrance past. And as it was slowly and metaphysically absorbed by my being, I hoped that this earth would always be a home for the howling wolves, and that we would never be deafened by silence.