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Winter Sighting

Wolf Spirit II by Isaac Bignel

Wolf Spirit II by Isaac Bignel

When my children were babies, my husband and I rented a farmhouse on a mountain. We worked in shifts, dividing our time so that one of us always was home for them. It was a lonely time on the mountain for me. Before the kids were born, I found peace and solace by hiking the forested hillsides and farmland meadows. But once I had children the mountain felt isolating.

Some women come into their own when they become mothers. A new infant completes their lives. But for others, adjusting to motherhood is more of a struggle. Giving up independence to focus on the needs of an infant can be trying.

For me, a case of colic made things even worse. As my son’s colic consumed my days and nights, I was at a loss for what to do with a child who could not be comforted. Family and helping hands were far away, making me feel even more alone on the mountain.

One winter, when the snowdrifts reached higher than the hood of my car, I drove up Mountain Road after a late-night restaurant shift. My headlights landed on a canine darting across the snow-covered road ahead.

At first glance, I thought it was a dog or coyote. But this was a massive beast with thick gray winter fur and a muscular chest.

It stopped for a moment at the edge of the snow bank on the opposite side, blocking passage into a stand of pines draped heavily with snow. With ears erect to the danger of my idling engine, it coiled back on its haunches then sprang into a powerful leap.

Just as its forepaws cleared the crest of the bank, its rear legs sunk into the snow. The beast was stuck. This was no fleeting glimpse, no dart across the landscape that leaves you wondering what you saw. Here struggling for its life was a wolf.

Its eyes flashed red as it twisted and bucked to gain leverage. Back and forth it rocked, pulling and straining, willing itself to rise up. Tension thrumming in all of its muscles, the wolf focused every ounce of energy on this task.

Do not give up. Keep trying.

The words flashed through my mind as clearly as the image of the wolf and its struggle for freedom. I sat in awe of its will and strength as it finally freed its hindquarters and dashed safely into darkness and cover of the pines.

After resuming my drive home, I realized that I was not the only one facing struggles. A wolf must survive a harsh winter; it must find a way to make it until spring. I, too, would need to keep fighting the struggle and face my problems with as much determination as this wolf. I was now in a deep snow of motherhood, most likely the first of many deep snows I’d have to twist and buck to rise out of in my journey as a parent.

For the rest of that winter, when the wails of colic battered me, I thought of the wolf. It strengthened me, gave me greater resolve and fiercer determination.

Our family survived the bout of colic as well as many other trials of infancy. Springtime arrived just as the colic slowly eased away. My confidence as a mother grew, allowing me to move on to other challenges as a mother, wife, woman, and writer. I still use the image of the wolf when I need to find strength. The wolf reminds me to keep trying, no matter what, urging me always never to give up.


AUTHOR BIO: CAROLINE WOLFE is a pen name under which author, Marcia Roth Tucci, writes about love, marriage, motherhood and self-discovery. The pen name represents her authentic voice, free from association of her married and paternal names, and links to her maternal heritage. Caroline Wolfe is the voice of a woman, any woman, and the essays explore moments of truth in the life of the author and women around her.

The author can be reached at

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