a story she told
She was a storyteller, our girl. A soul of knowing well beyond her years. When she was a young child, she wrote a story about wolves. I’d like to share a few passages with you. I look back and read with different eyes now. A different heart. She was a magical, mystical beauty from the get-go and her writing gives us a peek into her world. A world of deep reverence for nature, respect and admiration for our Creator, and a keen eye for the motivations and drivers of the spirit.
She was the rare creature that was willing to keep her heart open to what is real and true, even when it was painful and hard. She never hid. She couldn’t tolerate pretending. She never understood cruelty for the sake of entertainment. She shares all of these things in the writing she did.
Without further ado, I give you excerpts from Mila’s wonderful story about a wolf pack in Northern Canada. It was written when she was nine years old:
Nightshade, my son.
It’s my father, the old Alpha. He’s speaking to me.
You are torn, yet you and I both know in our hearts what you should do.
“Why did you have to leave me father?” I whisper
I never left. I’ve always been here. Your dream is to go to the Tundra, but can you do that by yourself? Can you do it with a pack? One of the many things I learned in my life is that the world doesn’t revolve around you, you revolve around the world.
The world will continue to live when you die, so make sure when you die you have no regrets, and you did everything you wanted to do.
See those wolves down there?
See those wildflowers around your paws?
Neither will wait for you much longer to make your choice.
So make it now son, not with your brain, but with your heart.
In another part of the story, a wolf pup dies:
I open my mouth to tell my father that I’ll go in the back when I hear yips and shrieks, and a groaning of a large tree falling down.
I whip around.
I am blinded by another lighting strike.
Something sings in my ear,
“You are strong my darling. You are quick my darling. You have the power of a blizzard my darling. You are tall my darling. You are witty my darling. You could bring down a mighty buffalo.”
My mothers song, she used to sing it too me.
I’m gonna die.
Through my closed eyes I see a dull flicker of light.
How many more have gone to Mother Wolf, the creator of us all, and who we all go to in the end, all to be turned into Ravens?
Throughout her story is the theme of the everlasting ravens. She wrote that when a wolf dies, it has the choice to move beyond the physical world, into the spiritual, or it can choose to come back to earth as a raven to help others.
As the story evolves, we see situations where ravens appear to help with the hunt of a starving wolf or in a deadly fight between them. She doesn’t directly say that the ravens are the wolf’s ancestors, there to help, but they are omnipresent, symbolically and directly, whether the characters acknowledge them or not.
Ravens have been playing a big part in my life over the last few months. If I wait long enough while I’m in the forest, I am almost guaranteed that a raven will fly directly above my head, leaving only the sound of its wingbeats in its wake. I like to think that impossibly small filaments, too minute to see, fall from those magnificent birds, onto my head, absorbed into my skin. They, birds close to heaven, me made a little closer to Mila by their christening.
Later in the story, Mila writes of life, or is it death, or just, as she calls it, “a simulation”. Nine years old, and this was what she was making of it all:
Well, if I’m dead, this must be where Mother Wolf lives… but it makes no sense, where are all the wolves, and trees, and the blue sky?
Where is Mother Wolf?
I wish… I wish I could see a sunrise right now.
As soon as I wish it, above me a purple sky appears, dotted with stars and a full moon watches me. On the horizon there is a small line of pink, red, and orange, all mixing together to make a colour I have never seen before.
I can’t even describe it.
I grin broadly now.
I realize what is happening now. I am not dead, if I was dead I would be in a world already made.
I am dreaming.
I wish that I am beside a sea.
Below me there is a rock ledge, and in front of me there is a sea, with large waves clawing at the rocks.
I twist me head to look behind me, there are a few steps of rock then there is grass, as green as green can be, stretching out as far as I can see.
Wind came with the sea, I realize that now, because my coat is being blown every direction, whereas before it was eerily silent.
I like it.
I notice that the sunrise doesn’t move, though. It is staying in the same position, which I am glad of.
I do not want the sun to come out yet. I feel like if the sun came into the sky I would wake up, and I do not want to wake up.
I open my jaws for a second, and when I do I taste salt and water mixed together.
What else do I want?
It takes me a while to figure what I want out, because the possibilities are endless.
I do figure it out though.
I wish that there was a forest of beech, maple, and ironwood behind me, and that they have the colours of fall on their leaves.
I say this wish as I watch the waves, reaching up the rocks.
After a few moments I look behind me.
There are trees so large and beautiful that my breath catches in my throat, though I regain it quickly.
The leaves are swaying and dancing in the wind, and the branches are groaning as they move.
I stand up and shake my coat of imaginary debris.
Then I walk away from the ledge and into the forest.
The trees are not very close to each other, but they are massive, and look very healthy.
The branches create shadows on the ground, and everything feels so real that I’m doubting the assumption I made earlier that it is a dream.
Maybe it isn’t.
Maybe it is.
I’m buzzing with questions, but I have no one to ask them too.
So I know what my next wish will be.
I wish that I had answers.
I sit on my haunches, and wait for something, either material or mental, to happen.
I sit for a while longer, pondering why my wish was not answered. Then I hear paw steps behind me.
I turn around, and see a large red and brown wolf, her eyes are bright and large.
I turn around so I sit on my haunches facing her.
She looks at me and smiles, then she also sits on her haunches.
“Hello,” She says. Her voice is unlike that of any voice I have ever heard, there is a heavy accent, it is like listening to a fast moving river.
“Hello.” I answer.
There are so many questions spinning around in my head that I can’t choose just one to ask.
I blurt out the first thing I can focus on,
“Who are you?”
“My name is Arunda, and I am the messenger of Zaixa, who may be known to you as Mother Wolf. You wished for answers, so I was sent here to answer your questions.” She answers, without a pause.
“Where am I?””
“You are in a ‘simulation’. It is where you can create your own world, just as Zaixa did so long ago. Your simulation is very interesting, usually wolves are greedy and want everything they can think of. You didn’t though, you created what your old home used to look like, when you lived in the mountains.”
My eyes flick upwards. Arunda is looking at the sunrise behind her.
“Are you dead? Am I dead?”
She smiles knowingly.
“No, you are not dead. You have lost a lot of blood though, and it is not certain yet if you will live or not.”
She didn’t answer my first question, which puzzles me more than her answer.
“So are you dead then?”
“I lived, yes. I have been dead for a long time though. I was one of the first wolves to die, after Zaixa. I had lived in Zaixa’s land for such a long time that I got bored, so Zaixa made a new land called a ‘simulation’. Which is all black, and you get every wish you wish for. You can wish for anything, Nightshade.”
I notice that she does not want to talk about how she is dead, or about herself at all.
“Is there a limit to how much I can wish for?”
“What are the limits?”
“You cannot wish for a life that you do not have outside of the simulation. And you can’t wish to live.”
“What would happen if I wished that?”
“Can I get hurt or die here?”
I wish for Arunda to live again.
Arunda looks shocked, then puzzled then a little bit frustrated.
“Thank you for that wish, it’s quite flattering, but as I just told you I can never live again, unless Zaixa would send me down for some special reason.”
“Oh.” I murmur.
I watch my paws for a second.
“Are there any other messenger wolves?”
Arunda looks a little bit relieved to not be talking exactly about herself anymore.
“Yes, there are a few others.”
Oh, my baby messenger wolf. The cold, autumn winds have arrived, blowing their chilling air through the hole you left in my heart. In my guts. In my hollow, aching womb. Will I ever be warm again?