My wife, Laura, and I had the good fortune of being able to travel west to Montana in July and enjoy the amazing beauty of Glacier National Park where we have come to love the wildness and magnificence of the mountains and forests. It was wonderful trip.
On one particularly rainy day, Laura and I decided to travel from the east side of Glacier Park to the west side of Glacier Park to pick up a few things we needed. We decided to travel to west via Route 2, just south of the Park, and return by way of the Going to the Sun Road, a gorgeous road that winds its way through the middle of the park. On our way over, as we were driving through a very steeply forested hills, I caught a movement coming toward the left side of our car. I quickly braked and then, to my great surprise, saw a beautiful young female wolf slow down and move around the back of our car, across the road, and down into the forest on the other side. I could hardly believe my eyes!
When I recovered from the shock of seeing a wolf in the wilderness, I noticed a small pickup truck behind me had stopped as well….So I drove on to a pull-off area a short way up the highway to let the pickup truck pass by. When I did, the pickup truck also pulled off and pulled up beside me. There was a young Native American man driving the truck who rolled down his window…as I did ours…and said to us, “I’m so glad you pulled off the road so we can share this moment with one another!” With that, we proceeded to talk about our experience of seeing the wolf, how unusual it was to see a wolf, especially in the daytime, and what the symbol of the wolf means in Native American spirituality. The young man told us he was leaving for a 4-day personal retreat and that seeing the wolf was a special sign to him.
When we were back on the road again, Laura and I talked about how serendipitous and meaningful it was to share the wolf moment with this total stranger. We were aware of how the brief sharing and telling of the story together connected us to one another in a significant way which made the wolf experience even more real and more significant. It was a special time.
Reflecting on this now, I think being part of a community, in particular a church community, does this for us. It gives us a place where our common story is told and shared, and thus made more real and significant.