Four children, the oldest carrying the youngest, fight a path through the wind and rain. The oldest, determined to save his siblings, carries the crying baby in one arm, pushing her face into his cold wet t-shirt to shield her from the storm, while pulling the others with his free hand.
The storm is the fierce kind that tore apart homes and claimed lives. Father always warned about the dangers of summer storms, what to do and where to find safety. The culvert at the end of the drive was only a few feet away on a peaceful sunny day, but miles in the distance when faced with cold, unrelenting and unforgiving winds. The oldest helps the children into the hole, and they all shift towards the centre to get away from the sharp rain, huddling and staying close for warmth. All four are cold and wet, but safe.
The storm persists for hours, night falls and the children fall asleep. The oldest doesn’t sleep as well as the others; odd sounds and foul smells keep his senses keen and alert and confused. The muffled snoring, scratching and rustling sounds seem far away at first, but then so close. His imagination takes control of his thoughts and quickly he becomes wrapped in fear and panic. Closing his eyes, he remembers Father telling him that it takes great strength and courage to face and conquer your fears. The fear keeps him awake, desperation for the safety of his brother and sisters keeps him from giving up, but it’s trust in his father’s guidance that gives him the strength he needs to sleep.
He wakes and navy twilight soaks the air outside the culvert. The storm has past and the world is quiet, except for deep breathing coming from behind him inside their metal bed. As he turns to check on his siblings he hears a low muffled growl-like moan that fills the small space. He freezes and his heart pounds. Holding his breath, he listens hard…..nothing.
Twilight illuminates the inside of the culvert just enough to let blue shadows dance on the rippled metal walls. He finds the sleeping face of his brother first; his first sister is right next to him. He hears the moaning again and this time he’s sure it’s not his imagination or any of the children. His eyes search the darkness for his youngest sibling, moving further and further to the opposite end of the culvert. Just then the sun grabs the horizon and pulls itself to daylight, and a sliver of transparent blue light shines into the far opening of the culvert, lighting the small space enough to see the source of the moans.
Sharp blue eyes of a grey wolf, stare unblinking into the boy’s wide fear filled eyes. The two stare into each other, both seem to be unsure of what was happening or what to do do next. The baby is asleep, warm and dry, curled deeply into the soft warmth of the wolfs thick fur. He remembers the stories his father told him about wolves; how they are very wise and how you can speak to them and they to you through the eyes. Looking up and finding the wolf still staring at him, the boy asks, without saying a word, to give back the baby. A look of understanding seemed to come from the wolf, and in a kind and gentle way the wolf nosed and licked the baby’s cheeks and slowly rose to stand over the child. She didn’t cry; instead she smiled and reached up to touch the soft fur and the wolf let her.
In the moment before the wolf turned and left the culvert, he looked one more time into the eyes of the boy. In a time of great fear and danger, and without even knowing it, they helped each other and both were grateful.