I saw a wolf once, walking along the road somewhere between the Columbia Icefield and Lake Louise in winter's depth. We were driving south, having driven all day, stopping only to make photographs. Coupled ravens had followed us up to the icefield, but not back.
We had reached the point when our cameras were spent, our hands heavy from lifting them, the turn of lenses, the pull of advance levers. That mechanical ka-chunk filling the whiteness of silence and snow. So we just pulled over and watched the wolf, nonchalant, making his way down the highway.
He didn’t look at us. I strained for the moment to be something it wasn’t. A moment when when my eyes met wildness and something magical transpired between us. A standoff. Something. The wolf didn’t give a damn what I wanted, and kept up his casual purpose, just as ours waned and we headed home.
And like so many unrecorded and wordless memories, this one has grown. The idea of him and of our crossing paths as something that held more than it did. A deeper significance, a filling presence. But, really, he was a wolf walking down the road. We were a couple driving the same direction. And nothing stopped for us.