Wolf pauses by the gravel roadside, erect, regal. His fur coat gleams in autumn. He looks neither left nor right, yet seems to sense everything in his world.
I creep forward in the car, mesmerized by this creature of the deep woods. His companions increase yearly and some Michigan voters want to ban the wolf hunt. Others desire to manage the creatures, culling the herd, attempting to make sure wolf teeth don’t bite into small dogs.
This one may be a lone wolf. Or his pack might linger just behind the hemlock trees. He might be an alpha, a dominant one, or perhaps one of the male youths. He may be a she. I know little of wolf gender, culture or politics.
Last night around dusk the woods erupted in howls. Dog, coyote, or wolf? We listened intently. Barry thought coyote. I voted for dog and coyote. Dog barks punctuated the swell of yipping voices.
We saw a man with dog walking on the ridge behind the house on our property. Who might he be? Did he carry a gun? Was he our neighbor’s son, a bear hunter, a stranger?
The yips and barks continued for a half hour. I ambled in the low light along the road and listened to the eerie voices. You can make up stories from now until the sun comes up, but who knows what is really happening away from the gravel and “Pavement End” signs?
It’s an odd autumn. Leaves shimmered bright reds and oranges a week or two ago before the temps rose to near 80 degrees. Many leaves gave up their brilliance and fluttered to the ground in shades of yellow and brown. Some trees still wear flashy green. Others dance bare in the wind. It’s an odd fall, indeed.
On the weekend mornings I sipped coffee and heard gunshots down by the bay, bang, bang, bang. Hunters wearing orange aimed at fat geese resting while heading south. A grandmother roasted goose for Sunday dinner, I’m betting. Perhaps the fowl freezes until Thanksgiving in some local freezer.
We walked in a steady rain on Saturday with our friends in a new nature preserve area. A million colorful leaves painted a canvas at our feet. With rain coats, hats, boots and mittens we looped back and forth up a hill near the Pilgrim River. Why do folks stay inside when it rains? If you’re dressed properly, it’s a joy to wander for two or three miles.
Later we dined at Fitzgerald’s Restaurant up in Eagle River. You must secure reservations a week in advance. The tiny restaurant shores up against Lake Superior and all we could see were whitecaps and waves almost dashing against the building. It felt like sailing in a ship without seasick pills.
Our group ate dishes like pulled pork and brussels sprout salad and new red potato salad and corn muffins and later shared a pecan bourbon pie. We delighted to chat with other friends sitting across the way.
Almost two hours away from our Little House in the Big Woods, we toasted “Cheers!” and “Prost!” and felt the natural elements all around us. We felt warm inside the restaurant with wild waves crashing outside.
Wolf, waves, coyotes, rain, wine, goose, friends.
‘Tis a rich life, indeed. Cheers, dear readers.