As I sit in my room tonight, my mind wanders back along the tracks it’s trod many times before. Together, it and I meander through memories, occasionally glimpsing at those it seems I’ve trod upon too often before. I remember those grand accomplishments of my own that faltered in my mind having no one to share them with. Equally, I remember those small feats of a group and the pride we shared together. I continue to wander through this mist, passing up happiness and sadness both until I reach a memory that seems fresh, untainted by over-reminiscence. I sit in silence and wonder in curiosity for a moment. This memory doesn’t seem to reflect joy or despair, anger or envy, but a sense of wonderment and even respect. Anxious, I reach out and embrace the memory, once again soaking in the lost dignity of a past time.
I stride through aisles made into mazes by too many displays and overcrowded text. As I walk on I ignore that small script, hopeful and dumbed-down explanations for the average citizen. A T-Rex lingers in the room behind me as I decide to explore deeper into the past. I pass up feathered and scaled constructions alike, criticizing some poor paleontologist’s interpretation of what he sees of the past. Until finally, after a long journey, I stumble into a new room--
Even though the figure peeking from behind the smooth plexiglass display is stuffed, I can still see the loyalty in its eyes. These were the eyes of man’s best friend, or man’s best friend’s cousin, as it were: the dire wolf. From the italicized text that hung next to the case, printed on yellow mock-antiquated paper, I read that this fierce thing had lived throughout North America for almost 1.8 Million years. It was larger than today’s grey wolves, sometimes almost five feet long. It was vicious, deadly, and a pack killer to its core. In my mind I adopted the dire wolf as a companion to the saber-toothed tiger in the continued warring of cats and dogs.
The case in front of me demonstrated the execution of a historian’s guess of what he thought the wolves’ habitat might have been like. A mural, the backdrop of the den, was comprised of the subtle intertwinement of field and forest. The ground was splotched with plastic pine needles growing sparser as you moved away from the foot of a tree, several limbs broken off, and its trunk covered in the remnants of a wolf’s shedding coat. Littered among the crushed leaves and fallen branches were the scoured, yet unbroken bones of recently fallen prey, and scattered around that fake terrain, seemingly randomly, were slight impressions in the earth, the covert footprints of a hiding pack. Each detail was taken slowly until suddenly, too late I realized that the lone figure in front of me was not nearly as solitary as he’d seemed the instant before. Even years past his extinction I’d still walked into his clever trap. Never alone, the dire wolf’s pack was the source of his power. They had me surrounded, death mere seconds away. I...