A white wolf and a dark gray wolf howling together

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — As I walk through the early morning cold, the wolves and coyotes begin their morning howl. I let the beauty of the sound vibrate through me, into me, into every cell of my body until the music of the howls and I become one. 30 March. The melting mounds of snow are forming great puddles on the land, puddles that are apparently irresistible to the multitudes of birds on the property. They are out there indulging wildly, ecstatically, fluttering and splashing and ducking and preening and ducking and splashing and fluttering for a very long time. The ice is gone! Freedom! Spring! The joy and excitement is contagious. Life is good. Hopefully our willow buds...

Sparrow in hand

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It’s been snowing and snowing here---a welcome event as that is a normal winter for us. It is what life is adapted to here. Snow insulates the ground and the roots of the trees from the cold. The voles burrow along under the snow in long tunnels, feeding the magnificent great gray owls that come every winter. It gives us our water in the spring as it seeps into the aquifer below, nurturing plant life along the way. Sparrows in the trees | Earthfire However, for one unfortunate sparrow, plump and lazy from the easy pickings of stealing the chicken’s food, the snow was not a blessing. As the snow accumulates on the red metal roof above the horse,...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I took Shota, my sensitive, gentle German Shepherd pup to Sun Valley, Idaho, for an examination by a specialist. He has had a limp for a couple of months now. Our local vet, examining him, had referred us to the Sun Valley vet. She said she could feel something in his shoulder but it needed an expert diagnosis with an advanced CAT scan machine and probable surgery. Speaking on a video call with wildlife vet Linda Bender about a program we were planning, I mentioned that I would be leaving the next day for Shota’s possible surgery. We continued talking and suddenly she blurted out, “He doesn’t want surgery.” A little confused because we had been...

-- by Susan Eirich, PhD (First published in Teton Valley Top to Bottom's 1999 Winter Edition) -- It’s snowing today, a thick, gentle snow. I had just returned from a visit to my very old mother, her life force still strong despite her aged body. At first light the moon was a pale luminescent orb in a pale white sky—harbinger of a coming storm. For now there is only the still soft falling of white flakes drifting down from the heavens. It started slowly, tentatively, filling the air with exquisite crystals, covering protecting. I read an article years ago that stayed in my mind—I cut it out to save it but never could find it again. It talked about how peoples of the Far North...

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