A Dream of Wolf
By Art Roscoe
When I was about seven years old, my sister left for college in Upstate New York. Shortly thereafter I moved from my tiny upstairs bedroom to her more spacious room on the ground floor. For about a week it was sheer ecstasy; having a real bedroom with a real adult bed and even a closet. But then the nightmares began. One in particular occurred with some regularity. It involved a large wolf who slunk out of the forest surrounding our small house and threw himself repeatedly against the screen covering my bedroom window. For several nights worth of my dream the screen held. But one night it finally gave way and the wolf was in my bedroom. He carried me off to who knows where and I awoke in a cold sweat with my heart pounding madly. The next day I moved back to my tiny upstairs room.
Dream psychology and analysis has never been my long suit so I'll make no attempt at interpretation of this one. Suffice to say that this was the sole (or is it soul?) context within which I viewed the wolf for the next 12 years. My next exposure to wolfdom was as a forestry student at Syracuse studying wildlife biology and management. The importance of predator-prey relationships in the overall ecology of forest ecosystem was a new and foreign concept to me. Even though I had grown up in the forest, I viewed myself as a protector of Bambi, Flower, Thumper and the rest of the Disney gang. It was very difficult to shift gears and see those beautifully innocent, wide-eyed talking animals as a critical part of the food chain. Over time I came to see the absence of wolf from most of out nation's forests as unnatural and unhealthy to the forest ecosystems. Further, he represents the true spirit of free, unspoiled wilderness.
So when I arrived in Utah in 1994 and began my involvement with the High Uintas, it was the absence of wolf from these magnificent mountains that was most troubling. Watching the halting progress of his return has been torturous but gratifying none the less.
Therefore, it was with seriously mixed feelings that I followed the misadventure of Wolf #253 this past fall. I was ecstatic to know that wolf has verifiably made his way back to these parts but chagrined by his capture and return to his home territory.
I remain encouraged by the increasing number of unconfirmed wolf sightings in the Uintas and hopeful that there will be one or more packs in those mountains soon.
So it seems I have resolved my childhood dream fear of wolf. That terrifying beast who grew out of some insecurity in my young psyche has, with age and maturity, become a respected and necessary part of my current worldview. Perhaps the sole (soul) message of my dream was that the wolf was inviting me into his world, wanting to school me in his values regarding loyalty, family, rules of behavior and ritual, that I might grow in the strength and wisdom essential to meet the challenges ahead. At least that's what I choose to believe now. Welcome, #253 and all your kin. The window is open.