I looked out onto the forest around me, a smile lingering on my cherry stained lips. The wooden ground was a mere memory, sitting high enough in this 100 year old oak tree that I could gaze out on all of the beautiful surroundings. Leafy tops of trees began to thin out in the distance, giving me a beautiful view of hte bright, spotted sky, particles of clouds lingering lazily in the soft breeze. I took in a deep breath of the fresh air, just savoring this moment while it lasted, before I had to return to society, to my residence. My hand moved across my sketching pad, scribbling out thumbnails as the inspiration flew through me, feeling at one with nature.
Eventually, way sooner than I would like, which would be any time at all, I knew I had to leave. It would just bring on more challenges, more anger, more disappointment the longer I wasn’t under their eyes. Who knew what I would do if they weren’t watching me? Have pre-martial sex? Do all of the drugs and alcohol that this beautiful island had to offer? Be reaffirmed in my gender orientation?
Securing my art supplies into my messenger bag, I began my quick and careful descent towards the ground. Each little branch and stick I used to get up was memorized, and soon I fell the remaining 3 feet onto the forest bed below. Looking at my watch, I noticed the descent took less time than I thought it would. With my best guess at travel time to get back to the house, along with a little buffer, just in case I get distracted by deer or other wildlife, I had just enough time to finish my sandwich surrounded by the peaceful buzz of the outdoors.
The second I sat on the damp ground I regretted it, the moisture soaking into my old, torn grey jeans, reaching the barrier I had to my little duck with hearts boxer underwear. In a world of my own, blissful in the retrieval of my Ham and Cheese sandwich, I hardly noticed the snapping twigs, or the soft breathing. What snapped me awake was loud rustling in the barry bushes right to the left of me. I froze, hoping to remain unnoticed by this passing wildlife- yet to no use. Out walked a giant wolf, walking towards me with a deep growl in his belly.
Or, I guess, a normal sized wolf. Just not compared to my normal sized human self.
My nerves sat at edge as I didn’t breathe, didn’t move. All I could do was stare into the eyes of this wolf, my sandwich sitting between my shaking hands. They were beautiful, it had to be a weird mutation- One eye was such a light blue color, so bright that from a distance it looked white, while the other one was this beautiful hazel color. Very distracted by his eyes and the fact that he was only feet away from me, I just assumed it was a male wolf- it made it easier to try and think of a way out of this.
When he approached me, closer and closer, I did what any scared, uneducated being would do in this situation. I held out my ham and cheese sandwich to him, feeling the fearful tremors in my outstretched arm. Coming so close that I could feel the heat of his heavy breath as he opened his mouth, his head held casually and comfortably, not like he was trying to hunt me nor was he afraid of me. I don’t see how he could. I wasn’t a very large body person, sitting with a bag button closed on my side, entirely out of reach, my hands held out while I didn’t even breathe too loud.
Maybe I would get lucky, and this was going to be a tourist wolf, used to weird people throwing food at him. Those eyes shifted in a circle, first behind him, then towards the sandwich, then to myself, as if trying to find a reason for my offer. When he was satisfied with what he saw, whatever that was, he took it into his mouth. His teeth were gentle, seeming to be careful of my very squishy hand, which I was grateful for. That large, sharp mouth could easily swallow the delicate flesh whole, and finish the sandwich for dessert. The wolf’s head bowed, dropping the sandwich to the floor. A soft gasp left my throat, thinking he was going to reject the sandwich and come after me next, but instead, he just repositioned it to be easier to pick up, biting it in half and dropping the other half back to the leafy floor as he chewed up my lunch.
I sat myself up more, leaning over so I could see him better. That previous bone chilling, heart stopping fear relaxing as he accepted my offer. Obviously, this had to be one of the tourist wolves, okay with humans as long as they had food. Clearly he wasn’t starving either, so my soft flesh didn’t register as a meal. Staring at him, my brain began to wonder, towards the people who were lucky enough to get this close to such a delicate, elegant, huge wolf. This could be life changing for people, like a symbol of change, of accepting one’s primal urges.
That didn’t register with me, I already was the wild child, different in every way from my upbringing, trying to rebell in a world that pushed and smashed me so far down I felt like I was choking under stone. The wolf’s heckles were down as he crouched lower to the floor, getting a better angle at the remaining half of the quick meal. That fur looked so soft, what if I just-
It was like my brain disconnected from my body, the common sense that’s kept me alive my entire 20 years of life disintegrating as my hand reached out, gently placing it between his ears. God, he was so soft, his multicolored eyes shifting upwards to lock with my own, quietly giving me the permission my now shaking hand needed to regain the confidence I lost when common sense returned. Very gently, I dug my fingers down the thick fur to his skin, giving him a small scritch as he finished swallowing that final bite of food. Though his eyes flicked down then back up, as if telling me something I wasn’t sure but hoped was a do that again, a smile filled my face.
Okay, my primal urge is ‘pet the puppy’ and for once it didn’t end with my hand leaving my body. Kind of would deserve it if he did, but as his eyes closed half way, his ears flattened as I used my longer, manicured nails to itch his head. My friend Sam's dog always loved when I did this, she had a hard time keeping nails long, or on if they were fake, so I used it like a treat. The large wolf took one more step towards me then laid down on the damp floor, leaning his head towards me to encourage more scritches. It gave me the perfect opportunity to admire his multicolored fur, its blotches of light brown, orange, and white over mostly black fur- I think this pattern was called brindle? My family had a cat who did not enjoy me and I her, named Chubby, who was calico. The difference was the amount of white, right?
“Hey buddy...” I whispered softly, keeping my voice at a steady tone. Overthinking typically left me dazzling out, and we saw the last time that I touched a wild wolf without a second thought. Still holding the “this is a wild animal” thought in the back of my head, the fear I felt was easy to suppress, especially if I was going to talk to him. The wolf bobbed his head, crawling closer to me while tilting his head into my hand, so close that his giant, torso-sized head rested on my lap, demanding the skritches now with a dopy, happy face. Kind of like a dog- but a lot larger with huge teeth.
Being this close to wild life wasn’t a smart idea, nor was it ideal, but it sure as hell was interesting. Especially since I had never been this close to a wolf before, so just the absolute huge size of him was something I was trying to engrain in my head. Now both of my hands were scratching the top of his head, all around his large, fuzzy ears, really getting to work as he let out a long, heavy sigh.
I welcomed the warmth of his head and breath, which surprisingly wasn’t too horribly smelly like some dog’s I’ve smelt before. It wasn’t until he did that that I realized just how cold I actually was. It was mid-fall and I was stupid enough to go without a jacket, even though my outing was going to be over an hour long. Resting my back against the tree, I felt at peace as we sat in silence, the sound of birds chirping brightly above us. My eyes felt very heavy, the sleeplessness I normally experienced every night catching up as I felt warm, safe, and surrounded by nature.