It is a sound that pierces your soul and echoes through your flesh; the landscape reverberating along with your bones long after the wolf lowers his head. The call of the wild; the way I know the howls will sound the same whether I am there to absorb them or not.
A coastal wolf who fishes for salmon, digs for clams, savours marine mammals, and lives by the falling tides; these wolves have a unique coastal culture. Families, or packs, of wolves indicate a healthy ecosystem and are as much a part of the temperate rainforest as the great groves of cedar trees. In Heiltsuk territory, on the west coast of North America, the dawn wolves howl to the arriving day.
Someone once said to me, “Never have I met a creature I respected more than the wolf. Never have I met a creature more worthy of a life lived unwitnessed.”
If I’m being honest; the more I learn about the wolf’s true nature, the more I want to respect their privacy. Though this may seem at odds with the art of wildlife photography at first glance, I think this paradox is necessary. To know when to lift and when to lower the lens. Some moments aren’t meant to be made into photographs. Sometimes nature gives permission, almost asks, for her astounding beauty to be documented. The discernment to tell the difference is something one acutely develops in the unfolding moments themselves, and in deep reflection afterward. a
There is a presence about a wolf that makes one realize a rare glimpse is a gift. I feel the far off howls of the dawn wolves inside my chest to this day, and that, too, is a gift.