Many a comparison has been made between wolves and those individuals on the edges of the social landscape. Too often, though, the image of wolves are misconstrued to be one where a lonesome individual howls at an equally lonely moon. On the contrary, wolves generally travel in packs of up to 30 individuals. The nucleus of the entire pack is the breeding pair, hence the term alpha male and alpha female.
I have never really been an alpha male. When running with the pack, I often found it difficult to know my place. I would wander around aimlessly, quite unsure of my role and the course of action expected of me. My auditory sense was not keen enough for me to hear the latest trends in the television, music and gaming industries. If I had any talents then, I am quite certain it did not include singing, dancing or any other histrionic stunts which could be conveniently performed on stage.
It was believed that wolves bred for life; each year, the breeding pair mates. The female gives birth to about four to seven pups which are then cared for by its parents and the lesser members of the pack. After training, one who is well-versed in the art of hunting and assasination may opt to leave the pack or remain as a lesser member. Some of those who leave the pack create a new one themselves; other simply remain alone.
I would never have left the pack, had some lesser members not influenced me to alienate myself. Now that I no longer belong to any pack, now that I no longer have any alpha male to bow down to, I ran free amongst the trees. The moon was whole then, as though her fullness a reflection of the concept of I as an individual, not as a lesser part of some pack. I wove through the forest in bliss, unmindful of the ever increasing distance between me and my homeland. When I came to, everything felt new; even the air smelled nothing like the atmosphere of my ancestral home. I have ventured onto new territory which, from this day forward, shall be known to be mine.
Wolves frequently establish territories from 40 to more than 400 square miles. They define the reaches of their control with scent markings and different vocalizations like barks or growls. Of course, it is the legendary howl of a wolf that humans recall the most. They apparently are territorial; they defend that which they hold closest to them. Perhaps, it is no wonder that humans often perceive a wolf to be a solitary entity.
However, it may not be true that wolves prefer isolation, even for those who have left the pack. Perhaps, their howl not only defines their territory; perhaps it is their way of seeking intimacy. It was said that wolves could, at will, turn themselves into shamans and, as shamans, revert back into the fur in which they are born. Could it not be said then that those known to be lone wolves may not be so of their own accord? Could it be that they are reaching out into the world, only that we ourselves are too blinded by the our role to serve the "alpha"? Could it be that our unity as a pack divides us from those beyond our world?
Think about it.
I knew not how it came last night.
It eclipsed the moon's silver light.
I felt its eyes, its piercing stare.
It vanished like it was never there.