Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem is an ekphrastic one inspired by a wolf calendar photo. The October wolf’s grey paws seemed to join it to the rock it stood on, so the connection between wolf and Earth seemed a good topic for a mirror poem. Here it is:
Wolves 2012 Calendar, October Star Wolf
fire melting gold
fall full flow
leaves oval shaped
seem to poke
fun behind rump
on thin reaching branches
both stand on rock, green and grey coloured
under strong running legs
paws resemble plinths
keep head grounded
feminine tongue smiles
sunrise eyes shine
below mountain peaks
Is happiness a neglect of duty? It seems that avoiding bad news is the best way to be happy if you’re single, unattached and comfortable financially. Travel can give you that freedom to be happy, as you’re away from the usual concerns you have at home.
At home you feel like you can and should try and make a difference, even if the political system ultimately seems to do what it wants anyway.
However, when travelling or on holiday you can have other problems, such as feeling isolated or hassled.
Even if you escape humanity you can be left wondering why the world is the way it is, and if there’s any point to existence.
Of course there are good times too; and times when the world seems all wonderful and perfect.
I think that’s what Marc Latham was trying to say in his Mine Bipolar Mindpoem available from the above link on fmpoetry.wordpress.com and included in his 242 Mirror Poems and Reflections book along with Reflection 13, which premieres online below:
You cannot escape –
thinking you’re free
one side of the mind
on the same body.
Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem started its incubation on January 28th, when Chris Packham’s Inside The Animal Mindhighlighted a wolf’s sense of smell by showing that it loves strong scents such as Chanel. Then this week Grado visited Nicky Clarke’s salon in a documentary about Glasgow’s Insane Fight Clubwrestling shows, and had his hair coloured by the lovely Rebecca Rock. The two halves of the Folding Mirror were put in place. Here’s the poem:
Women and Wolves, Different ways Delectable
perfume in air
way you wear
flowing sun hair
a graceful touch
to be yourself
good humoured woman, wolves love scent
swimming in chanel
one shaggy sight
full coated fur
lights up life
paws upside down
In another new nature documentary, Hidden Kingdomsreminded me of Marc Latham’s ant theory, with small animals shown living just as eventful lives as bigger mammals in the world humans and wolves see and smell.
The grasshopper mouse featured in the first episode was like a little wolf, even howling to communicate and mark its territory.
The mouse also shares the wolf’s tenacity, fighting species much bigger than it, helped by evolving immunity from scorpion and snake venom.
Nepal Mastiff Dog Mountain Photos
There was also some great greenygrey scenery on Marc Latham’s travel25yearsblog, with a mastiff dog and other animals enjoying a sleepy existence high up in the Himalayas.
There’s also a lot of hard work going on around there though, and it’s a tough place to live, as shown in other photos on the t25y site.
Hi, it’s Baron Wolfman, head honcho of Greenygrey creation in the absence of the legendary Andy Wolfhol. I’ve been storing up some greenygrey Facebook goodies for winter, and am sharing them with you below.
Wolf and Nature Photos
I’ve got lots of nice wolf photos, and a few others with great greenygrey scenes. The names of those who posted them are under the photos, and the photos link to their Facebook pages.
In this first one, a wolf seems to be enjoying greenygreying on a cold morning… or doing an impression of the genie’s lamp!
Just a cute pup enjoying a snooze with the warmth of its parent amongst great greenygrey nature in this photo:
This wolf seems to be between a greenygrey rock and a greenygrey hard place:
Nice greenygrey trees behind this wolf:
Nice mixture of human and rhino greenygrey in this photo, with some vegetation to complement the main scene.
Hi, it’s Harry Silhouetteof-Wolfhowlingonhill, television correspondent at the Greenygrey. I was delighted to see that the BBC‘s fascinating series, Nature’s Microworlds, recently had an episode about how wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone in the 1990s helped the oldest national park in the world’s river ecosystem return to its best state since wolves were exterminated in the 1920s.
Yellowstone Wolves Benefit Beavers and Biodiversity
In Nature’s Microworlds‘ infotainment style, the Steve Backshall-narrated documentary took the viewer through several reasons why wolves might have helped beavers thrive; eliminating them one by one in a Sherlock Holmes-style deductive reasoning.
Was the key connection coyotes, bears, bison or elk?
Thankfully for us, Marc Latham has written a new article about it for his Suite 101 Natural World Media channel; including a Greenygrey image; and it provides a more in-depth account of the documentary; its information; and the key link between wolves and beavers that has helped to replenish Yellowstone’s riverbanks.
Hi, it’s Andy Wolfhol, creator extraordinaire at the Greenygrey. There were no new medals for Team GG yesterday, but Team GB got a silver in the equestrian team event. I was captivated by the layout of the jumps, with the fences supported by British landmarks, such as Trafalgar Square lions (we’d have preferred wolves of course!) and postboxes.
Stonehenge at Olympics 2012
My favourite jump display was the triple Stonehenge themed jumps, which not only brought a little bit of the ancient world to the games, but also looked very greenygrey, as shown in this still from the BBC highlights:
Hi, it’s G.G. Howling, literature correspondent at the Greenygrey. I was getting ready for my weekend when I was unexpectedly called into the office, as a great blog post about the history of wolves in human fantasy stories, myth, society and religions has just appeared on the Ashsilverlockfantasy writing website.
Wolves Demonised and Celebrated
The blog starts off by explaining how many old societies and religions demonised wolves through a mixture of symbolism and fairy-tales. Wolves were of course still rivals to humanity for land and food at that time, before being largely exterminated, after man’s best friend dog had been extracted from the wild wolves.
Thinking of the last Greenygrey blog post, and David Shrigley’s comment about the Glasgow weather inspiring existentialism, I wonder if religious monotheism still dividing the Middle-East; and being stronger in the Mediterranean than northern Europe, and bible-belt USA rather than the northern states has anything to do with them having more sunshine?
Anyway, I digress; maybe it’s the Greenygrey Rambles influence?
A More Positive and Realistic View of Wolves
Ashsilverlock’s blog then goes on to detail how more modern fantasy stories have thankfully provided a more positive, diverse and realistic view of wolves.
Wolves do of course have to do unsavoury things to survive; but much less on a global scale than humanity does.
Ashsilverlock’s blog unfortunately doesn’t include the wonderful Werewolf of Oz: Fantasy Travel by Google Maps, but hopefully will in future updates, after Grey’s ground-breaking comedy-fantasy is recognised for the classic epic it is.
The second and final episode of Land of the Lost Wolves saw the wildlife team return to the Cascade Mountains in summer. They set up a summer camp 100 miles lower than the winter camp.
Only 2 of the 10 Lookout pack wolves are thought to have survived.
But there are reports of other wolves that have travelled south into the US, and even further south than the Lookout pack. Isaac Babcock and Jasmine Minbashian head south to follow them up.
Meanwhile, Gordon Buchanan heads north to Canada, to search for the source of the wolves heading south.
Narrator reminds us that European settlers saw wolves as a threat or competition, and waged war on them. Then says that following sightings, government scientists managed to capture and radio-collar a young female wolf. Show a photo of her. It is the furthest south in the Cascades for nearly a century.
They also took a DNA sample from the wolf, and it shows she is a direct descendant of the Lookout pack. The DNA shows the wolf line stretches to the northern Cascades, and Great Bear Rainforest. More than 500 miles above where Jasmine is searching for wolves.
Switch to a boat on the Canadian Shore, where Gordon is now. It is preparing to sail up the coast in search of the Lookout pack’s ancestors. Introduce expert tracker, Chris Morgan, who is with Gordon. Chris left Lancashire, England at 19 to spend time with and study wolves and bears.
Few people live where they are heading, so wolves are quite safe, although they are still wary of humans. Shows Chris travelling up; he says it’s one of the most beautiful places he’s been, with cascading waterfalls dropping down through forest into the sea.
After landing, he says it is one of the wettest places in North America. He sets off on foot through a forest, and says it is dangerous because he could bump into an unsuspecting bear, so he calls out, to warn them, as grizzlies can be dangerous. He says almost all bear attacks in North America are under these circumstances, with people bumping into unsuspecting bears.
Gordon takes an easier route, along the coastline. He films a black bear. The bear smells him, and comes to investigate. Gordon says it has poor eyesight. When the bear gets closer and realises it is a human it runs off the other way. Gordon says it’s a really peaceful animal, so misunderstood; and almost all large carnivores are the same. We’re just scared of things that are bigger than us and have big teeth.
Narrator says it has a bad effect on the balance of nature. Show Doug Smith’s eco message again: how the systems were put together over millions of years.
Jasmine takes to the air to try and locate the radio-collared wolf, but there’s too much forest cover.
Meanwhile, Isaac is searching on the ground. Meets with biologist, Bill Gaines, who shows him the recorded passage of the wolf’s movement on a map. She seems to be going back to one site. Says it’s hopefully a ‘rendezvous’ site.
Switch to Doug Smith, who says a ‘rendezvous’ site is like the spokes on a wheel; the wolves will fan out to hunt in the summer and then return to rendezvous.
Switch back to the Great Bear forest, where Chris is hoping wolves will be feeding on salmon. Finds remains of pink salmon and chum fish with brains (full of fat and protein) bitten out: sign of wolf kills. Then he finds wolf scat with salmon teeth in it. He finds a part of the coastline with a lot of bird activity. Calls Gordon up, and Gordon goes up there and sets up a hide. Gordon says wolves have been catching fish like bears for thousands of years.
Narrator says wolves are very adaptable. Doug Smith says they are very intelligent animals, with large brains for their size. When they’re hunting animals up to 10 times bigger, like bison, they have to be smart about it. Wolves only weigh 100 lbs and can get their brains kicked out.
Narrator says a single wolf is one of the most intelligent animals, but when they get together as a pack they can hunt the most formidable prey.
Switch to Isaac, who says a rendezvous site is like a puppy playground; pups stay there, while the adults go out to hunt. Isaac is such an experienced tracker that he can spot the smallest signs.
A new influx of salmon has brought lots of activity around Gordon’s hide: including a seal.
Chris finds a grizzly fishing.
Show greenygrey Cascades, with more rain dampening Gordon’s spirits. Then a wolf arrives. Rusty brown coloured coat, characteristic of the coastal wolves.
The wolf fishes. Only a handful of people have filmed this behaviour. Gordon says it is the fulfilment of a lifetime’s ambition; calls it a handsome, handsome dog. Narrator says there have been reports of wolves hunting seals, snatching seabirds, foraging for mussels, and swimming 7 miles at a stretch. This similar behaviour to humans has brought the two into contact. Gordon says to see them in the wild is in contrast to their human image: we fear them, see them as competition, one of the most interesting and charismatic animals.
Just 90 miles away from one of America’s biggest cities, Isaac thinks he’s found a new pack. Finds an old wolf scat, a bone, and hears movement. Show Seattle and Cascade mountains on map. Narrator says young wolves will strike out on their own, and could be a problem, as it’s only a few miles from farmland, and the locals might not be friendly. Doug Smith says he thinks the Cascades offer good wolf habitat, but it’s whether the locals will allow it.
Narrator says it is one of the most contentious issues in North America, and nowhere more than in Idaho, where 35 wolves were reintroduced in the mid 1990s. With legal protection they have thrived, but now a ban on hunting has been lifted. Jasmine goes to meet an Idaho hunter.
Gordon goes to meet the leader of the Idaho anti-wolf coalition, Ron Gillette, at a rodeo, says it is cowboy country, where attitudes haven’t changed for a century; says Gillette and followers fear wolves will eat their cows and harm their way of life. Gillette says horses and cattle are being lost, it is the most vicious, cruel predator in North America, taking the prey down and sucking the blood out of them as it pumps out. The experiment is over, get rid of them.
Gordon says Gillette’s not talking about reducing wolf numbers, he’s talking about extermination; thought we’d been through that 100 years ago. Doug Smith said wolves do kill livestock, but it tends to be ‘uncommon to rare’ and those wolves will always be dealt with. The wolves were wiped out to set up the ranches, but now that the ranches are there, we are respecting their place. If wolves kill livestock they are dead. That’s the story. Much more complicated is if they are killing elk and deer.
Jasmine meets hunter, Milton Terley (spelling?) in Idaho. There’s a big sign outside his house or a clubhouse (?) saying ‘I Shoot Illegal Aliens! (The Grey Canadian Type). He says he wants to get a wolf today, let’s go hunting. Has an AR15, semi-automatic.
Narrator says Jasmine has spent her time protecting wolves, but could now see one shot in front of her.
Back in Washington state, Isaac has seen nothing all day at the suspected rendezvous site. Then he hears howl of a lone adult wolf. Then pups as well. Says there’s a bunch of wolves in there, and close.
Jasmine is finding it hard to face seeing a beautiful and intelligent animal killed; but here to be open-minded. Milton thinks he sees a wolf, but it’s a deer. Then says it’s the first one he’s seen this year. Jasmine says he should go out with her more often, before asking if it’s because they’re harder to find or if they’re not there. Hunter says hard-nosed hunters say they’re not there.
Narrator says elk and deer hunting is a multi-million dollar industry in Idaho, and if wolves are decimating their numbers whole communities could suffer.
Milton says there is a place for wolves, but only if they are kept in check. Every time he hears a wolf howl it sends shivers down his spine, as it means one animal is dominating another; nature is a little sick, one set of creatures is devouring another set. Jasmine asks if he thinks it’s humanity’s role to keep it in check. He says he wants balance. Jasmine says she can live with that. Milt says there are radicals on both sides who won’t. Says his friends had said she was a radical environmentalist and he shouldn’t meet her.
Narrator says they have found a middle ground where wolves and humans can share the remaining wild spaces.
Doug Smith says the wolf’s efficiency as a killer is overestimated, and most hunts are unsuccessful. What you’ve got is an evolutionary arms race between wolf and prey, with both adapting to each other over thousands of years, and the margin between them down to minutiae; the image of the wolf as a wanton killer wiping out herds is just false. Wolves target weak animals because they are generally easier to catch; healthy animals generally rebuff wolf attacks and the herds grow stronger as a result. Anti-wolf people often care more about values, who is the top predator between human and wolf; who is dominant. People in the middle who want wolves in some places where they can live in peace and not others where they will invite conflict is going to be the most fruitful for solving our wolf issues.
In Washington, Isaac has been camping out for days, but not seen any wolves. But then sees a pup; lot browner than he expected. Another pup arrives, and is greeted by the other; the first puts its jaw on the back of the other’s neck; kind of stroking it as it walks below it.
Isaac says he thinks there are four pups, what is most exciting is not seeing them, but thinking what they represent; seeing them this far south means the wolves are returning to Washington right in front of our eyes. Only question is ‘are we going to let them?’
Narrator says Jasmine has been waiting 20 years to see wolves return to the Cascades. Isaac has told her he’s located the female, but kept the pups as a surprise. Jasmine arrives and watches the film of the wolves howling; says it goes right to her heart, and it’s a sound she wants to continue to hear in these mountains.
Doug Smith says he thinks the pioneer packs have revised their thinking of wolves; they used to think wolves needed wild pristine land to survive, but these are surviving in land that isn’t that wild. Gordon asks what he hopes for wolves in the region in 200 years time? Doug says he’d like to see wolves along a mountain corridor stretching from Canada to Mexico. That’s not to say they’ll be everywhere, people needn’t be fearful, just small amounts of wolves living with little contact with humans, in habitats they can live.
Narrator says Doug’s vision might not be far away. Wolf numbers continue to grow in Washington, with 5 packs now confirmed in the state; and down into Oregon state. And now a wolf has also reached northern California.