Like all children, I tried a number of “when I grow up” plans on for size over the years. Unlike some children, my obsessions lasted longer than a few weeks or months — I was the kind of kid that devoted (and I mean devoted) a couple of years to each before I gradually grew into another. I’ve already covered my wilderness survival obsession; for the two years immediately following, my new obsession was the wolf.
My life’s goal was to become a wolf expert: specifically, I wanted to grow up to be L. David Mech. I had posters of wolves plastered on my bedroom walls, read anything I could find on wolves, took notes on their body language, pack behavior. Holiday and birthday gifts for me were a cinch: it was a 100% guarantee that I would adore anything that had a wolf on it. I could tell you slightly more embarrassing things, but I won’t (because they’re embarrassing).
By age 13, I had mostly moved on, but even today when a kid asks me what my favorite animal is (you’d be surprised how often I get asked that), my answer is still a no-brainer. Dear, dear wolf, this one’s for you.
Matazo Kayama, Winter, 1957. The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
Lis Timpone, Wolf and Snake, 2011. listimpone.blogspot.com/
Frederic Remington, Moonlight, Wolf, ca. 1909. Oil on canvas. Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA.