Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - Protecting Their Own

The next day brought a warming trend as spring was fast approaching. Although they had their fill the day before, the pack had all headed out in different directions hunting for small game and in the process they would renew their packs hunting boundaries. Father was approached by his playful yearling who bowed down to his dad, butt high in the air and his tail wagging. His father jumped on top of him pinning him to the ground his open mouth around his neck. With a light bark he jumped away and they both start circling while they wagged their tails.
This large wolf differ ed from the average pack leader in that he rewarded his son's improved attacks by laying on his back baring his stomach and neck to his boy. Normally, a father would never allow a son to win a battle even in fun, he needed to maintain absolute authority over his family. But this pack was odd just as the leader was odd. The son leaped on top of his dad and they rolled and rolled across the meadow. When they both finally got to their feet, the son began to howl a victory howl and his father chimed in giving the howl an ominous sounding harmony. As they finished their duet the father reached out and stepped on the son's head and sprinted off to his mate and rubbed cheek to cheek with her before sitting next to her.
The clearing they relaxed in was yellow with mustard blossoms and small white and a little larger orange butterflies followed their individual Brownian motions to suck life sustaining nectar from the miniature buds. A few flies had found their way to the wolves seeking the liquid from their eyes or landing on their withers and ears. The wolves would either shake the one portion of skin on which a fly rested or twist their heads to shake the flies from their faces. The father rested his head on his crossed forelegs and let out a large sigh. He was considering taking a nap.
Loud barking broke the silence of the calm afternoon. Father recognized his daughter’s bark and determined the direction and he was off the others that were hanging around raced along side him creating a loose cavalry line headed in the direction of his daughter. As he cleared the trees his worst fear was realized. A neighboring pack had her surrounded and he could see her flank covered in blood.
While they were focused on her they were also aware of their surroundings and as soon as half a dozen of the park cleared the tree line several of the other pack started barking. They left their quarry and spread out to meet the oncoming pack. The daughter, once freed, ran with a three legged hop to safety behind the line of her own pack where she sat down and began licking her wound.
Meanwhile the pack began to bark and howl, both warning the strange pack that they were in claimed land and calling the entire pack to the stand-off. Soon the alien pack was outnumbered and there were signs from them that they uncomfortable in that position. They began milling about as the father’s pack inched closer barred teeth and growls.
Suddenly, his two-year-old daughter took advantage of their indecision and lunged at one of the wolves facing away from her. Biting down hard on its hind leg they all heard the snap of the bone. The unwanted pack took off as fast as they could run away from his formidable pack.
The father examined the young daughter’s leg and could see it would heal. That other pack was left with a permanent reminder not to cross their boundary again.