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The Quiet shared 9
Quickly come inside and get comfortable as we have a snow fall warning here today and tomorrow. We are expecting as much as a foot of snow over the period. If need be you can just bunk in here. The Fireside is open, lots of coffee, tea, Diet and regular pops. What you can not find just ask or better yet just make yourself at home.
The weekend conference was a blast. Very time consuming and like many the first day is intimidating but once the ice was broken all went well. Glad I managed to get home before the pending storm. This week will be a busy week as I need to slip down to Montana on Thursday for a quick trip. Then Saturday to Arizona for a week or so for a break and sun. Looks like it will be just on time as winter has arrived.
Please enjoy your time with me, close your eyes and follow along with Tannis and I as we head further into the backcountry and see what we can find. Just rest and stay as long as you like. Should you doze off I will cover you with a blanket. You will be well taken care of.
This is the final Chapter in this short book... I do hope you have enjoyed the series. I certainly have appreciated your comments and encouragement.
A cool morning chill greets me as I open my eyes.
Although it is June in the high country where the camp is situated, we have frost this morning. It is cold enough that ice has formed in the washbasin. It is a very thin layer, but it is there.
That means it will be simply ‘splash and dash’ morning washing. On mornings like these, climbing from a warm sleeping bag becomes a battle.
Early dawn is spectacular to watch unfold. The daily stirring in the forest has already started. Birds are sounding the arrival of the rising sun; squirrels are chattering at each other as though spreading the news of the day.
Tannis growls and is intent on something across the lake. The air is heavy with dew this morning and there is a mist hangs over the lake. We may finally get the rain we need again as the past few days have dried the vegetation and underbrush out.
The first thing on my agenda is to get the fire restarted: the price I have to pay for being lazy during the night when I failed to get up and add some needed wood. The coals are all but dead, so my egg carton starter comes in handy. It is fast and effective and we have a small fire very quickly. Before long the chill of the morning is gone and morning coffee is brewing.
Tannis has been giving that low growl for the last several minutes and I finally focus in on the cause. The male wolf we saw yesterday is sitting near the edge of the lake intently watching the morning proceedings.
This is a very rare glimpse at these creatures; as a rule they are very solitary. It is part of their nature to remain secluded.
As I sit and watch with the binoculars, he looks to the north and the south as if ignoring that noisy black thing beside me.
His coat is shaggy as he is shedding his extra winter growth. It is actually comical, as there are several clumps of fur here and there that make him look somewhat like a circus clown. The new coat he is growing is full. His sides are steel gray, his belly a light tan and his back almost pure black.
I can see that the road he has traveled has not been an easy one. He has a massive scar that runs from his left eye over his nose to his right upper lip. Part of his left ear is missing. He is truly majestic as he sits surveying his domain and the strangers that have entered it.
I give a soft whistle and he turns his head to look directly at me. His gaze stares right through me, so intent and yet I notice a glimpse of understanding that I have found something special.
The gazes last for several minutes, then with a low, deep howl he raises his head to the sky and calls out. Within a few minutes, as though from nowhere, the remainder of the pack gathers.
The affection they show each other is a blessing to behold. The nearly full-grown pups try to engage the male in their morning antics. He merely tolerates them as he scratches his neck with vigor. His excess fur fills the air around him. One of the pups gets a loose hair caught in his nose and sneezes.
The morning greeting lasts but a few minutes as he gets up and stretches, takes one last look our way, and begins a slow gait off to the north.
As I sit with my morning coffee I know that I have been part of something that very few get to see firsthand. I also know we had company across the lake all night as they chose to bed down relatively close to where we are.
It is not the first time I feel I have become so much a part of the surroundings. In a sense it is almost like being accepted as part of this great environment.
With quiet resolve I pack up our camp. I feel a special peace deep within my spirit and know I have arrived here for a reason. I have no doubt that a calling has been answered.
The day before us will be long and hard. We need to be back home tonight; otherwise we could find ourselves a part of a search. I would hate to have to share this quiet with the noise of everything that comes with a search and rescue party.
They bring in helicopters, planes and man. It’s a comfort to know that the authorities accept the challenge when called, but it would be almost a shame to share this with others. Maybe that is somewhat selfish on my part. After all this is not mine. God created the wilderness around me for all men to enjoy. I am blessed that He has unselfishly shared it with me for the past several years.
We carry on a steady pace as I pass the familiar sights. I take it all in as I continue on my way. The wind is from the southwest and is helping with the paddling. We will be traveling in a southeast direction all the way, so I am thankful for the help.
Throughout the day I share my thanks with the animals we pass among the glimpses into these glorious surroundings. I love the moments shared with the animals that have become so familiar. They simply carry on with their daily routines while Tannis and I do the same. Each animal has a purpose, the same as we do. It’s all about just living as we pass through time. It’s what we humans need to do.
It was late in the day as I rounded the corner for the last time and realize I want to share what I have experienced here with someone—you the reader. I do hope you have been blessed even in a small way as you traveled with Tannis and I.
I awaken to reality as Baldy and Half Step remind me I must make a peace offering of sorts to pass through their special area. It’s a simple offering; one flick of the fly rod and another grayling is on the line. Baldy makes one simple low flying pass, narrowly missing us, and the offering belongs to the eagles. That’s the way it is here in a place of sharing. It is the way God calls us all to live.
Rolly's Royce waits on the familiar outcropping of rocks. Tannis has a score to settle with Bert and Ernie because that’s part of who they are. We have arrived in enough time to make it home with a phone call to announce we are safe.
I turn and look back at the lake, the forest, the blue water and the blue sky. In my mind I reflect on the words. “The roads that I have traveled have brought me to where I have arrived today." As I sit and reflect over those years I know that I have been a part of something very special. A season in life at the time has helped to shape me into the man I have become today. Would I change anything. I think not...
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Thank You Friend
I have often been asked woud I have been able to do this alone without Tannis at my side. My answer would be a yes and a no. But I can tell you for certain she was great company. The picture on the cover of the book captured her at her finest. It was where she belong.
There are many things a man can learn in nature and from their animals in their lives. Love is the greatest as they never judge they simply love and stand by. Like people after a time they become possessive of their owners and willing to protect at any threat.
Tannis lived with me for several more years after we left the Yukon and headed south. Always riding on the motor housing looking out the widow at the passing scenery. Man and his best friend searching for the next place to call home. Towards the last Tannis suffered with kidney failure and debilitating arthritis. I could not watch her suffer anymore and made the decision to have her put down while I held her in my arms. Emotions ran high for me that day as the tears flowed. She looked into my eyes and gave one final lick of the cheek and closed her eyes and was at peace. I do miss her and have my studio I write in graced with many pictures of her. Thank you Tannis for all the years.
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