“We should never be afraid to simply speak of what we love, from the place in us which has loved. It can make a difference.”-Renee Askins
When thinking about what to write for my very first blog, I thought about some of my many passions in life: nature (our environment), music, animals, photography, reading, biking, hiking…and the list goes on. My mind fell upon the animal category, specifically wolves. I have a profound love and respect for wolves, which may be shocking to some. How many of us were exposed to the “big, bad wolf” in children’s literature, movies or stories from the past? It seems that we were raised with a pre-determined hatred and fear of such a beautiful, strong, and graceful animal.
I believe I first fell in love with the beauty of the wolf: grayish, silver colored fur, piercing eyes, and the image of their head thrown up towards the stars, howling a song we humans could never completely comprehend. However, one book took this love I had to another level, another dimension. It was a memoir written by Renee Askins, entitled Shadow Mountain. I was extremely moved by Askins’s story of helping return wolves to Yellowstone. She was given the chance to work closely among the wolves, including raising a lone wolf cub. Her memoir takes the reader on a journey through her struggles not only with trying to bring back wolves to Yellowstone and work with ranchers to come to an understanding, but of her own personal struggles, joys, loses, heartache and more importantly hope. The memoir made me see wolves on another, almost spiritual level. They are deeply intelligent animals and are very caring of their pack. They are also strong willed and complex creatures.
Although many wolves have been re-introduced to Yellowstone, many are still sadly being killed.
I hope I live to see a wild wolf in all its magnificence someday. More importantly, I hope I live to see wolves roaming freely, unharrased by us humans. And lastly, that our future generations grow up with wonderment and fascination of the wolf, rather than the image of “the big, bad wolf.”
Here is some mind-opening and refreshing literature on wolves available at the Library:
Shadow Mountainby Renee Askins. A powerful memoir that is on top of my list for favorite books. Even if you aren’t slightly obsessed about wolves like I am, it’s still a great read! (599.744 ASK)
The Company of Wolvesby Peter Steinhart. The author explores the relationships between humans and wolves by listening to various people who know them: biologists, wildlife managers, ranchers, trappers, wolf lovers and wolf haters (599.744 STE).
Living with Wolves by Jim and Jamie Dutcher. The Dutcher’s are famous for their work and interaction with wolves, which they made into an emmy-award winning documentary called Wolves at Our Door. This book allows an intimate look at wolves from the Sawtooth pack through breath-taking photography. The Dutcher’s story is inter-woven with the photographs (599.773 DUT)
The Great American Wolf by Bruce Hampton. Gives a history of the cruel persecution of the wolf through the ages, up until the day in January 1995 when some gray wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park (599.744 HAM).
Of Wolves and Menby Barry Holstun Lopez. Another book that delves into the many views and sometimes personifications of wolves. The book also has a section on “Images from Childhood.” (599.74 LOP)
Julie of the Wolves-Jean Craighead George. A classic piece of children’s literature. An adventurous and touching story about an Eskimo girl named Julie (Miyax) who sets out on a journey through the Alaskan tundra to visit her pen pal in California. She learns about nature, her heritage and even befriends a pack of wolves (J GEO).
The True Story of the Three Little Pigsby A. Wolf (or Jon Scieszka). A fun children’s story that gives a different view than the traditional Three Little Pigs story. In this one, we get to hear the wolf’s side (JP illus. SCI)
White Wolf by Henrietta Branford. A compelling story, for middle school age children, told from the perspective of a wolf who is captive in a human world (J BRA)
Howling Hillby Will Hobbs. A beautifully written and illustrated story about a small wolf who yearns to add his voice to the pack’s chorus of howls (J HOBB).
Never Cry Wolf – This film is about a young government biologist who heads out to the Arctic wilderness to study the “savage” wolves in the area. He soon discovers that the wolves aren’t savage beasts at all, but devoted protectors of their young. He begins to understand wolves in a whole new way. The movie is based on a true-story. A powerful and adventure filled film–beautiful scenary as well! (DVD DRAMA NEV).
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. Here is the book if you prefer it over the movie! (599.7 MOW).
Sarai is the Publicity person/Library assistant and can’t wait to be on the sandy beaches at Cape Cod again, watching an orange sun descend into the mystery of the sea!