Travels With The Wolfman

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Travel  |  House: Booksie Classic
An ambitious trip to pursue a higher education leads to an enchanting and profound meeting with a sweet-natured spirit.

Submitted: September 06, 2015

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Submitted: September 06, 2015

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So the story begins…
 
I thought this was a good place to begin, even though it is not the oldest of my travel stories…it's fitting as the title of the page.  
 
In 1989 I drove up to Eugene, Oregon to check out colleges; To be a real student and pursue something smart and logical, architecture.  I had barely graduated high school due to disinterest and partying too much.  I almost didn't graduate elementary school due to being under threat of violence from bullies and learning difficulties that had yet been addressed.  
 
When I arrived to go on the tour the school offered, I felt so good, normal for me and with purpose.  The campus was covered in brick and had this feel of an old school, much older than the gray boring stone of San Francisco schools I went to.  This was a real college and pretty to boot.  
I had no idea what to expect on a tour of the architecture program.  When I found out that the program entailed 5 years of math, high level math I was flattened.  You see, I had barely made it through school with any math skills, including never getting past pre-algebra.  In those days, due to the dysfunctional nature of schools at the time, kids could get by with anything. We used to smoke cigarettes in the 3rd quarter bathroom until we got caught. Mary only made us throw them out and go back to class. Nowadays kids would be written up and punished severely. Back then we owned the school.  
Thing is, it didn't do us any good to run the roost like that.  We missed out on a real education.  I know our culture doesn't value education much, nor did I at the time; or value smart people and often condescends to intellectuals whenever they can.  But getting something out of your years spent somewhere is more important than a degree.  It means you took advantage of the time you spent struggling anywhere, rather than just struggling and coming out empty. 
 
So here I was all ready to sign up to architecture school when I find out it required 5 years of advanced math.  The reality hit me like a ton of bricks, apropos, cracking me over the head with real life.  I think I left the tour early knowing full well I couldn't pull that off, not at that time at that age.  I hadn't grown up yet.  
 
I decided while there I would tool around the town for a bit, take in the sights. So I went to a dead show of all things. And I went to a beer garden and had a beer at a pretty nice outdoor cafe thing.  I was impressed by this place, it seemed different than Bay Area cafe's at the time.  It was really nice and coulda told you the name in the 90's but have since forgotten it.  
I also found this incredible local spot called Skinner's Butte.  A local outcropping for rock climbing where people would hook in and ballet themselves and their friends up for an afternoon climb.  Very easy.  I stopped by to check it out and immediately was invited to climb up.  'Yea!! Absolutely', I said.  I got the harness on and made the calls, 'on ballet…'(ballet on)…climbing…(climb on)'.  And so it goes.  The rock was a smooth and chippy basalt that could crumble away in softer spots at any given moment.  
Still it was fun climbing it with long vertical cracks up the sides, perfect places to put your hands in and volley yourself up with legs filling out the crevasses in the rock.  After I was done I actually met the people who harnessed me in when they invited me over and gave me a beer.  I could barely open the damn thing because my hands were shaking.  I guess even then as fit as I was,  I wasn't that strong!!  We all laughed and chatted a bit.  
One of the men, Luke was a strapping fit and strong young man with curly tight blond hair.  Like some Greek god but humble.  We kind of hit it off. 
 
Later on Luke and I decided to go on a hike to Spencer's Butte.  He wanted to show me some of the area.  Another Butte, it's an Oregon thing I guess.  A small hiking mountain full of lush rich greens.  We went off trail onto rugged terrain, clamoring down the mountain, veering completely away from any trail and right through the bush.  It was terrible fun but as a result we scraped up our calves pretty bad and were covered in Poison Oak within the hour. 
 
In my life I had rarely ever reacted to Poison Oak.  If so it would swell and itch for an hour or two and then go away.  I was lucky.  I once tested myself with a leaf and walked home from jr. high to see how I would react.  Barely a blip on the radar that lasted an hour or two, then vanished.  Yay!!  
But this time, due to the fact that we had scraped ourselves up pretty bad with brush and sharp plants, there was raw open flesh to infect us with.  My legs were covered with true serious Poison Oak wounds for the first time ever.  It even got crusty and painful.  His too.  
 
We went back to his trailer that was parked on someone's property where he was living for the time being.  He too was on a journey of self-discovery.  He had been a competitive swimmer, as one could see by his broad chest and arms.  But due to a heart condition that made his heart an abnormally large size, he had to quit.  It was too dangerous for him.  I thought it fitting that his heart was too big.  What a metaphor for his character.  
 
As night drew on we drew closer.  We began to grow physically intimate with each other, laying clothed on his bed in the darkness of the night.  There was some moonlight cascading in from the left side of the trailer, just enough to see him a little.  But still most of the trailer was dark as it was past midnight.  
We stared into each other's eyes.  Something I did less and less of later in my life as sex took too much preoccupation over intimacy and life sped up.  It's not what I wanted all the time, but what I was forced to contend with while engaging with men.  
 
Suddenly I shuddered and pulled away.  I was stunned at what I had seen, thinking oh I must be hallucinating.  It's not possible and shaking my head. 
He asked me what was wrong, what happened?
For the record, I was totally sober, so was he. Historically, I was not prone to hallucinate, even when on drugs.  I only did once while on acid but I still knew what reality was.  I had that ability to always know what reality was and wasn't which kept me out of a lot of trouble in my life, except with men.  
But this night brought it all into question.  
 
While looking up at this magnificent specimen of a human being, I saw half of his face was wolf and the other half, Luke.  I told Luke what I had seen because he was alarmed at my reaction.  I figured he would think I was nuts and want to end the night.  But I was wrong, he was quite blown away. 
He then proceeded to tell me a story of a friend who lived up in the mountains nearby.  His friend was a mountain man of sorts, didn't like most people and lived alone save for his wolf pet who also didn't like most people.  But he and his wolf liked Luke, the owner proudly announced, 'That's rare my friend'. The animal allowed Luke to love him and after Luke would get up and leave, the wolf would sit in his spot as though still connected to him.  He then told me of all these weird dreams and incidents in his life as of late that had to do with wolves. So this vision I had wasn't entirely an oddity in this man's life after recent events. 
 
We laid there stunned at what had just happened, what we just shared. 
Later on we parted in good spirit and hoped to reconnect in the future.  
The rest of the trip was equally poignant for me.  
I decided to goto a Dead show a few days later.  It wasn't normally my thing, and I had a hard time with what I saw, the way so many of those people were disconnected while high at those shows. Totally out to lunch.  I always related to the punk scene more for many reasons even if we drank and smoked as much as the hippies did…it was different:  More energy, fighting corrupt politics in conversation and in real life and people were very present and grounded…. angry but present.  I felt the opposite at a Dead show.  Nice people but airy. 
Still I was getting out, expanding my horizons as they say. 
 
I met a wonderful sled dog or wolf mix or something who was the pet of these travelers.  Up till then,  I had been afraid of dogs and would avoid them like the plague. I just didn't know their behavior.  For example, I once crossed the street from a barking golden retriever.  Now I know dogs more so I'd probably cross the street to pet it, but back then I was afraid of a barking dog, so I went out of my way to avoid them. 
 
This dog at the Dead show was the first dog I'd ever connected to.  The first dog I didn't feel afraid of and instantly fell in love.  We connected.  And on such a auspicious weekend having met and connected with Luke, the wolf man.  
This new dog and I totally connected, even the owners remarked about this.  Then they said I had eyes like a wolf.  Ok. Most of my life up till then, I usually had gotten cat because they slant upwards a bit and I have a rounded nose…just like a lion.  But a wolf or sled dog?  Never, until this week, and then I heard it a few more times, interestingly enough.  
The whole thing threw me a bit, I never did know what to make of it but was kind of in awe of it all.  I was being open to the spirit world or whatever, something other than here and now, tactile reality.  
I was grateful of having met Luke and been able to see a side to him that many might not have.  Not just the animal side but the gentle man that he was. For he was a truly gentle man despite his physical prowess and strength.  His heart made him humble, vulnerable even.  
Later on at the Dead show I saw Luke, getting high and was kind of turned off by what I saw.  Rather, I was more worried about him and his big heart on all those drugs than anything.  He wasn't and brushed off my concern.  I think he was casting off the shackles of responsibility and playing a bit after having been a star athlete and good boy.  He was sowing his wild oats, as they say.  
 
I never did see him again but have thought of him a few times since, always hoping for the best still with a little concern in my heart for his.  I genuinely hope that he didn't fall down a bad path and eventually found himself in a good place.  I hope he figured more of himself out and drew higher in a brighter direction than just Dead shows and drugs.  
 
I wonder if he ever pursued the wolf connection anymore or was that the extent of it?  Either way, I will always remember meeting this man and seeing his shadow side.  
 
 
7/3/15©DanyaMosgofian


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