Time: Summer 1975
Place: Cassopolis, Michigan
Dedicated: To my blog stalking husband.
My destination was Living Waters Camp located outside Cassopolis, Michigan to spend the summer as a lifeguard, swim instructor and camp counselor. Only my student teaching experience and a few classes remained before I completed my education degree. Many changes had taken place the previous year. My father had died. The house we had lived in for several years had been sold. Mom was moving to be closer to my grandmother. My college “love” was no more. I had changed schools at semester and was looking at another school change to begin my senior year in the fall. I was traveling out of state alone to begin a summer job. Well, I wasn’t alone. I had my faithful beagle dog with me, Rattler. Rattler and I arrived at our destination and parked outside the lodge at the campground. Being on the shy side I’m sure I sat in the car for a few minutes and took a few deep breaths before entering the doorway. What I noticed first as I walked through the door was a dark-haired young man leaning against a table with his hands crossed in a friendly way across his chest. Big smile and a hello. I learned he was in charge of the horses and horseback riding. And his name was Steve. Others walked in and the summer began. For the next two weeks our days were filled from early morning to late night with learning all the things that needed to be known before the first campers arrived…Bible study, archery, horseback riding, camping skills, crafts, swimming, music, shooting, first aid and on and on. The group of counselors bonded together as we experienced our training together. A special friendship between myself and the leaning-against-the-table young man developed over the next few days.
Our last training activity was a drop-off trip to somewhere in southwest Michigan. We were only supplied with a piece of plastic, a sleeping bag, water, and a Bible. Maybe we were given a compass. I don’t remember. The mission was to spend hours of solitude in the woods overnight. We were dropped off at different points and admonished, “No contact.” I love nature. I like solitude. BUT there was a growing feeling of fear in the pit in my stomach. I have an imagination. And did I REALLY know these people? What about snakes? Big wild animals? Creepy, crawly things? Jack the Ripper? Axe murderers? I was far from home. Even though the night was beautiful…it gets really DARK in places where there are NO lights. Besides being acutely aware of the thumping of your heart, what was that rustling sound over to the left? Was that breathing I heard to the right? Footsteps? Then I heard the howling of a wolf…except it sounded a little human. Some laughter. I recognized the “wolf”s” voice…Steve. A few other “wolves” howling in response. A little more laughter. I was then able to get a few hours of sleep. The next morning I found out that this “wolf” had climbed a tree and gave out the howl. Since I married that young man less than year from that evening I believe that was the howl of love.
Fast forward thirty-seven years. We discovered Wolf Park near Battleground, Indiana when we were on a weekend camping trip. The advertisement beckoned visitors to howl with the wolves. We couldn’t resist. The link to this park is listed before.
Some favorite wolf books include:
Howl with the wolves at Wolf Park near Battleground: