I was on a fishing trip in Alaska the first time I ever heard wolves howl. All day long I had been on the lookout for bears. I was with two guys who were born and raised in Alaska, and they had a lot of advice for me.
“Don’t want to have a bear sneak up on you, and you sure as hell don’t want to sneak up on a bear. You gotta make noise so the bear knows where you’re at. And if you see one, don’t run from it because that will trigger its predatory chase instinct.”
Of course, I forgot all about the bears when the wolves started howling late that night. It’s an eerie sound – it stirs some primordial memory in you that you didn’t even know you had.
“Better throw a couple logs on the fire,” one of the guys said.
“Wolves won’t get too close to a fire,” the other guy told me. “Not usually.”
Here’s a haiku I wrote commemorating the experience. Enjoy.
stoke the dying coals
flames jump up and dance like sprites
holding wolves at bay