A doe burst out of the forest and tore across the meadow, two wolves in close pursuit.
This drama unfolded not twenty feet from where my young daughters and I knelt in our garden peacefully pulling weeds, our pant legs wet with morning dew.
One black, the other gray, the black wolf in the lead, they closed in on the doe's haunches.
Most of us have a landscape we intuitively comprehend. I open the front door of my cabin and find wolf tracks pressed into the snow.In spring, even before I see the grizzly lumber out of the forest to dig roots, I smell its ripe essence.These discoveries give me pleasure and an unspoken awareness of the natural order of things.Humans also have a primal relationship with large predators.This relationship has been eloquently elucidated across the ages in Paleolithic petroglyphs of dire wolves and other creatures sharp of tooth and claw and in medieval paintings of wolves menacing sheep.Wolves began to recolonize our area in the early 1990s.Since then we had been hearing them howl from the shoulder of our mountain and occasionally finding their tracks.But we had never seen them— not until that misty August morning when they ran across our meadow.For some long moments after they passed we knelt motionless in the garden, at a loss for words.Then curiosity kicked in and we stepped outside our small fenced yard to follow the wolves' trail.I marked one track, and from it we located others laid out in a gallop pattern.