The heavens turned dark as the sun disappeared behind heavy storm- clouds. A far away roll of thunder was heard in the distance, as the wind rose, and small pellets of rain began to fall.The fire began to crackle and hiss as rain fell into the flames. The newly arrived wolves still huddled on the ground, now trembling, as heavy raindrops flattened their coats and dripped from their ears. The skies opened, and water fell from the skies in a torrent, obscuring the horizon, and making vision impossible. Lightning flashed, and the crouching wolves caught a glimpse of PurpleDaisy, standing tall with her arms stretched above her, head up and mouth open. She was chanting! The other wolves were gathered around her in a circle, seemingly oblivious of the weather, their eyes glinting like slate. As suddenly as the storm had come, it was over, and the sun burst through the clouds once more. The earth steamed, and the crouching wolves saw the others approaching them, grinning along with PurpleDaisy. Get up, get up, they seemed to say. Get up, be welcomed, be welcomed. The sodden group of crouching wolves rose slowly and cautiously to their feet as the other wolves approached. Keeping their tails between their legs, they lifted their noses one by one to lick the open mouths of the welcoming wolves, showing their respect and their place. Amazed, they licked their chops, wondering at the strange taste and smell. This didn't taste or smell like wet wolves! No, this was more like....... CHOCOLATE? Formal introductions were no longer necessary. All the wolves, old and new, were now grinning ear to ear, running around and around each other in the chocolate mud. Then, following their instincts, they were suddenly on their backs, paws in the air, rolling and rolling in all the soft deliciousness. Suddenly, they heard a voice full of laughter, saying, "you're not wolves, you're tootsie rolls with tails and snouts!"
Stopping in mid frolic, they looked up and saw...
... the luminescent shadow of a huge silver wolf standing on the plateau that overlooks Starlight Springs from the distant shore. Even though there was a great distance between them, his voice was clear and crisp in their minds, and the younger wolfies began to tremble in disbelief. But the older wolves seemed to recognize this strange wolf-creature because one by one they stretched out their front legs and lowered their heads in a bow of respect. The young wolfies followed the example of their elders, trying at the same time to sneak a peek forward to see what would happen next.The shadow-wolf on the plateau began to expand in size, as if he were an image in a camera that was zooming in for a close up. In an instant, all that could be seen of him was his head and shoulders and he appeared to be so close to them, it would have been possible to raise a paw and touch him, if any one of them would have dared. Now the older wolves lowered their bodies to the ground and raised their heads in rapt attention. The new wolfies tried to get as small as possible and wondered if there were some way for them to become invisible all together. For all they had read about this place, and for all they had dreamed about being able to join the pack themselves, *this* experience was not within the scope of their imaginations. To say it was more than any of them had bargained for would be the understatement of the century! A deafening hush fell over them as the eyes of the silver shadow-wolf gazed into the souls of each individual wolf-sister, slowly, silently drinking in what he saw, giving no clue in his face or eyes as to what he might be thinking. Finally, he opened his mouth as if to speak ...
His great voice boomed out over them, low and throaty like a melodious growl washing over them like gentle rain coming in over the ocean."Wolves", the voice said. "I am thousands of years old. As old as the earth itself. I am the essence of every wolf that ever was, is, and ever will be. They are me, as I am them. As you are me, and I am you. You will see me in your dreams perhaps. I will manifest myself through your laughter and your tears, your joys and sorrows. This place is our sacred place. Here we gather before moving on along our paths, but I am omnipresent and appear when need or wish is there. As you are beginning to be aware, Starlight Springs is what you make it, as in life itself. This is the doorway to where you will find your inspiration, your dreams, your hopes and your solace on Star Mountain. You also will find each other, and the individual power of your group. Wolves are all about community, sharing, giving and taking. When we fight, it is because we must, not for the pleasure of it. We do not bear grudges,and respect each others boundaries. But wolfies", and here the Great Wolf smiled at them all, using the endearing term they knew so well, " most important - remember to play. Remember to laugh, and let your laughter ring out and light the space around you. Let your laughter ring out as you play and frolic, so that your daily life does not seem tedious. Remember also, the joy of little things. When you bake your pies, or sweep your floors. These are important things. Use this place, and use it well. Everything is here that you need, ... until your adventure continues." There the great voice stopped, and the attentive wolves stared upon a bare plateau, with their hearts full. There was nothing there. The Great Wolf was gone.
Strange, exciting, delicious smells were wafting in the air. Someone was cooking something. Lead by Dreamseer, and ollowing the delicious scent, the group climbed the Sand Road to the den atop Star Mountain...
All images in this story are either are royalty-free photos and clip art or photos taken by Willow. We are grateful to the wonderful artists of Isis International Clip Art for the line drawings.