The Politics of Dancing With Wolves

I recently saw a short film called ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’.

It was fascinating. I watched a couple of times.

The premise was simple. Left to itself, Nature copes well. Very well without our help. She doesn’t need it. She doesn’t need us.

Deep down, I’ve always known this.

I scoff at the search for alien life on other planets. It’s here. We are the aliens thrown into the natural world, with nothing but our birthday suits.

Everything in nature is perfectly suited to its environment. Animals are born with everything they need to survive in a world hostile to the human race.

Perhaps this is why humans feel the need to control and contain and yes, even eliminate anything feared, misunderstood or deemed useless.

Anything that doesn’t bring in a profit.

That’s really what we are talking about.

We are talking about money.

The bottom line.

The root of all evil.

Wolves have long since been a target of man’s fear and hatred. How sad. They make the most beautiful, haunting sound on the planet. Way better than someone shooting them from a helicopter and ¬†yelling “Hey Bubba, we done got us another varmint”.

One of the top predators, this is what they were born to do. Eliminate the sick and the weak from their herding prey. This keeps the herds strong and disease free.

Then ‘Man’ stepped in and saw the wolves were hunting what they think should exclusively belong to them. Man likes to think they are top predator. They are the most destructive ones. I doubt you will ever find a trophy head in den of a wolf.

Country folk love weighing in on this never-ending argument siting the damage wolves do to their farm animals, slamming city folk as being ignorant and unaware of the true nature of nature.

Oh, I beg to differ. We be aware but politics is ugly and it always gets in the way. And where there is politics, there is money. And those who don’t buy hunting licenses, or pay taxes, or fit in to what we think should really be the natural order of things are quickly eliminated. Sometimes in the most brutal way possible.

Wolves are easy targets. Despite their highly social organization, their ability to reproduce according to the available food supply and the fact that the Alpha male and female are the only ones in a wolf pack that are allowed to breed means nothing when up against man, red tape, politics, big guns and small minds. They don’t understand our laws, or religion, or lack of but they are born and die much the same way we do. In between, they struggle, with the only means available to them. It’s nothing personal. They don’t target farm animals, they are really just looking to feed their families, just like everyone else.

Small comfort when you can’t sue the government, or call 911, or bring charges against the two-legged ones. Or shoot back…

So how do wolves change rivers?

They keep the herds moving so they don’t over graze. They eliminate the sick and the weak, keeping disease at bay. This allows other species to flourish. Trees grow where they would otherwise be trampled. The grasslands flourish. Birds return. The land is more stable and rivers don’t overflow as much. Everything in nature is in perfect balance and harmony.

And then we come in and interfere, and eliminate, and manage something we really know nothing about.

There are those of course, who work on behalf of the environment, who seek to educate the ones who have no regard for anything but their six figure income, but they are merely voices in the wilderness.

And like the wolves, they are fighting a losing battle, their voices drowned out by big business, corporate greed and unmistakable sound of pockets being lined by those whose arrogance dictates that we are the most important thing on the planet.

The planet doesn’t need us to survive, but we need it and the sooner we understand that, the better…

I hope we can come to our senses before it’s too late.

I hope when it comes down to all things planetary, we finally realize we are just a part of something much bigger. Something that can be taken away from us in a heartbeat.

And most of all, when it comes to wolves, I hope we dance…

By Mary L.

Canadian Sniper

It’s that moment when the body hits the floor and you have no idea where it landed.

It’s dark and cold and every ounce of energy is now concentrated on finding that thing and just getting rid of it.

Before the phone rings.

Before the cat eats it.

Before anything.

I search madly among the ruins of my bed sheets, clothes strewn everywhere, shoes thrown against the wall in a panic.

A tell-tale brown streak slowly slides down the off-white paint, pooling where the wall meets the floor.

Cautiously, all senses on high alert, I look under the bed. I looked down at the moment of impact and did not see where it fell.

There is dust under the bed. A lot of it. So much it seems that it obscures my vision of anything else. I feel itchy, and violated and stalked. I feel dirty. I feel watched. I am temporarily distracted while counting dust bunnies, carefully examining each one, looking for the one that is different. More alive. More dead. More ominous.

I have no idea how much time has passed.

I summon the cat to help me search. He has no idea what is going on, it is a new game, one with a sense of urgency. He is enthralled for about five minutes. He knows there is no treat to follow. He feels tricked. He leaves.

I am once again left to my own devices. I hate being alone at a time like this. So much has already gone wrong. Too much time has passed and I wonder if I missed my chance. I know I won’t get another one and I know I won’t relax until my mission is complete.

This moment. The longest moment of my life.

I had no idea when I got up this morning that I would be caught up in the drama of disposing of a body. One that I had killed.

All those years of bowling sharpened my aim. I hit my target on the first try. And the second. And the third. Like a sniper. The problem was finding the remains.

Finally, a smallish speck caught my eye. Dust-covered, the colour of pale tea, it lay crumpled among the dust bunnies. There it was. Curled up and quite dead.

I grabbed a broom and brought it closer. It was still wet from being blasted to smithereens by the Lysol spray.

Suddenly, I felt ashamed in that final moment. Angry over being in a position that left me no choice. I didn’t sign up for this. I am not a trained sniper and I hate taking lives.

As I quietly went about the disposition, I hoped his friends we’re not going to be looking for me anytime soon…

By Mary L.

The American Nickel


Out gallivanting today as usual.

The power was out last night which caused me to be somewhat fretful so I woke up tired this morning.

The cat kept jumping on my head to wake me. Sometimes he lies beside me and kisses me awake..haha…but not today. Today it was all about the jumping, like it was my fault the power was out.

It was not.

So, I decided to get an early breakfast out in the real world.

Not early enough.

I missed the daily special by mere minutes and the server was unrelenting, and very inattentive and quite rude because I was on my own today and she had no one to flirt with for a massive tip.

Well, here’s a tip…extend your breakfast special hours, try to overlook the fact that I wandered in late, and unattended, and don’t treat me like I’m invisible.

Oh my.

The table next to mine was crammed full of giddy, giggly girls, talking loudly about an imminent divorce. She gleefully recalled all the bad times, the most embarrassing times and the worst times. There were no best times. Not here. Not with them. They howled and smacked the table with great fervor and even talked about what a disaster the wedding had been. Perhaps they had all attended and had been thrown out for rude behaviour. Oh, I hope so.

And then the part I was waiting for….

The drinking binges, the bar hopping, the running around. Hers, not his… The pending divorcee wore it all on her sleeve like a badge of honour. I could see none of it. But I could certainly hear it. And I so didn’t want to on this mild day when I was feeling a bit off, a bit put off and totally ignored by my server.

Now where was she?

Oh, I thought I saw her once, hovering on the horizon, chatting up a couple of dudes who were only too glad to keep her busy and as far away from me as possible.

It was the worst of times.

Finally, breakfast was served.

A hash brown slid off my plate and onto the floor. I believe she stepped on it…

I wiped my dry brow and dug in.

My sausages, or whatever they were, were slightly burnt, the eggs runny and the hash browns kept trying to escape my plate.

Two gentlemen came in and sat near me. They were served immediately. I began to wonder if they were celebrities. One of them looked a lot like, you know, what’s his name…

They were both wearing sweatshirts with the American Flag and they talked loudly also. Mostly about schemes, scams and the american dollar. I presumed they were… American… and probably celebrities.

A long came the parking ticket guy.

I warned them and one of them lept up and went running out. Parking ticket guy, left in a big hurry. He was out-sized by about three feet. Yes. About that.

Meanwhile, giddy girls were packing it up to leave.

Good timing.

I had been waiting for at least ten minutes for my server to return. No sign of her. Anywhere…

I pictured myself pouring the salt into the sugar. I pictured myself break dancing on the table. I pictured myself getting up and walking out.

I wondered where the washrooms were.

Finally she returned and I paid my bill.

More waiting. Drumming on the table. I could hardly wait to get home and ‘google’ how to scam people without getting caught…

Giggly ones left. Dudes didn’t.

In my change was an american nickel.

That was her tip.

Bet she never saw that coming…

By Mary L.