Magical is the only way to verbalize how Yellowstone creeps into my psyche and heart and bones.

Below zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures in the early morning feel bone deep. Each breath turns to steam right before my eyes even in the warmth of a car driving ever so slowly through Lamar Valley. 

Sunlight slowly creeps into the valley. Bison join me on the road for a little stroll toward the rising sun. Faith and trust that I’ll have my first wolf experience on this day pushes me to continue driving toward exactly what place, I don’t know.

An empty turnout is perfect. Miles of open snow-blanketed valley floor glisten in the rays of morning sunlight. Standing still and cold in my silent space…wolves howl in the distance. Knowing that they are there is enough.

Camera and tripod are set. Knowing that my lens is too weak for the depth and breadth of Lamar Valley, I expect nothing more than Bison breaking trail for a few scraps of frozen grass. A visitor - someone who knows this place well - parks close to where I stand. He knows me for the tourist that I am, and I’m okay with that.

His heart for wolves is apparent as he shares his scope with me. He knows exactly where to look - there they are. Feeding on an Elk, chasing Ravens, and gathering together much like my human family does for celebrations. Tears freeze on my cheek. Memory of this moment burns into my heart, soul and bones.

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