This was an odd novel research day. An amazing, weird day at the UK Wolf Conservation trust. Three wolfy siblings, the Beenham Pack, named for the English village in which they were born and raised. A bunch of wolf near-obsessives, including me, in stout walking boots (”NO open toe sandals – toes are food”). A long walk in english countryside. Beautiful. Weird. Slightly scary. As it should be.
Tundra is the alpha female, the light one sitting in the grass. She’s super timid and hangs back from everyone, tries to slip unnoticed like a ghost through the corn, hides behind her handlers. It’s almost impossible to get a photo of her. I have only this one. Tala is the omega, the dark wolf, she of the serious face, the lowest in the hierarchy of the pack members, but is bold and always strikes out in front. Their brother, Nuka, is a handsome devil, into everything, especially the tall wheat, but is scared of the black plastic-wrapped silage rolls in the last field. He slinks and slides up to one to sniff it, ready to jump away should it attack.
They are huge-headed, dinner plate-footed beasts. Mythical and real. Gorgeous. Sniffing and yawning and scratching and sneezing just the way my dog Lulu does. They lie down and roll on their sides and ask for belly rubs. They eat pieces of random wood. They scratch in the dirt, and rub up against each other and against their humans. Just as my dog does. They are big and still even when they’re moving.
Such big paws. Such big jaws.
They are so similar.
They are so different.