SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS
The following is an excerpt from the new back-to-the-Earth spiritual novel by MARIAN YOUNGBLOOD
A video presentation of the novel’s story and setting can be seen on YouTube here.
… or a shadow over my grave…
The wolf pack had been gathering all day under the watchful eye of Tawnia, the mother, and were about ready to head out. Her mate Lobo, the tribe’s great white alpha male, experienced in the ways of Men and the natural world, would lead them. If they walked all evening and most of the night, they would travel beyond the perimeter and out of danger. In the Park they were protected; out there their lives were not safe because Man and they didn’t always get along, It was a risk they had to take. Staying behind was for the aged or sick. The young were hitching rides with cousins, allowing aunts to carry them in their mouths. Never in Tawnia’s time had she seen such cohesion and trust within the pack: young warriors were cowtowing, behaving like wise old beasts, just this once. They knew something big was afoot.
Lobo’s instinct was pure; his decision contained wisdom beyond their own limited view. They trusted him to lead them to safety. He called the Elders together and they agreed.
They had to leave the camouflage and protection of their Yellowstone home and take their chances in desert night temperatures because Lobo had read the signs and Yellowstone was telling them to leave: west across the desert, through the badlands lay sanctuary. There a new home beckoned. Lobo knew. Now the young had practiced and could imitate and howl the name of their destination.
Back at daybreak, Lobo called together and addressed a conclave of Elder wolves, experienced in the ways of canis lupus. They all agreed. Craters of the Moon was close, but barren; lava beds had a familiar smell but supported little wildlife. They would have to go farther to find the perfect place.
They may be of Wyoming stock, their strength in their connection to volcanic timber slopes and grassland, but their experience was gained in richer territory. Expert and lethal at trapping niche animals in a familiar shared habitat. Specialists in foraging as a posse. Community skills handed down, kept their tribe alive and strong for ten generations. Lobo’s direct ancestor founded the dynasty. Nine-times-great grandfather had been a traveler, himself: descended from New Mexico’s original and celebrated Lobo, the great wolf emulated by teenagers; one of whom even human beings had heard. He, a son of the Great Wolf Spirit, inspired respect.
Much had changed since Man created the first National Park in their hunting grounds; some Elders believed and hoped that ethos of the original parks was alive and active in the human young.
More senior Elders felt Man had not yet learned to put aside his ancient fear of Wolf. It was even said their Ranger friends in the old homeland were persecuted in their stead for allowing Wolf to return.
Elsewhere in this great country, canis lupus was, if not extinct, definitely rare and there were few areas where they and domestic animals shared territory. But Yellowstone was a milestone park, even if it was about to die, and there was talk among humans of giving wildlife a fairer portion, a more sensitive sharing of habitat, of a new kind of park where the lion might lie down with the lamb.
Even Abuela had heard such talk and encouraged Lobo before departure to head for the most dreamed-of location because dreams come true. Oregon had volcanoes, people there were also descended from original pioneer stock and a place would be found.
After Lobo patiently explained her words, they listened thoughtfully to her opinion and came to a consensus. There was no doubt about the Elders’ decision. They were agreed their aim was for Three Sisters. There the Great Wolf Spirit would provide a place for them.
A couple of hours later, the pack was on the move.
Only Abuela, the old grandmother, stayed in her den. If Lobo’s guidance proved less than accurate or the crisis was somehow averted, they would return to her. Age gave her resignation. She watched without blinking from her rock ledge, head between outstretched paws. As she saw the last straggler leave, her eyes closed.
When I wrote this, who would have known that the Bush administration would cancel the US Endangered Species Act and allow wholesale murder of Wyoming and Yellowstone wolves. Wolf killing continues as a ‘sport’ in March and April 2010-2012 in Wyoming and Idaho.
I entered SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS in James Twyman and Robert Evans’ 2010 spiritual author competition, Nexttopauthor.com. The video presentation was created at that time. Another excerpt –which gives more of the novel’s volcanic flavor– can be accessed here.
‘SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS’ has been picked up by AllThingsThatMatterPress for publication during 2012. I continue to encourage all genuine interest from agents who may wish to represent the novel with its déjà vu scenario and may feel its publication is prescient. I may be contacted via this page. Thank you.