October 2, 2008
By Paige Ramsey, Fishersville, VA

Her paws crunch in the snow. Perking her ears, she stops. She raises her head and howls ; her snout pointed up to the cold, grey sky. The snow drifts around her as her cry echoes off the snow-covered limbs of the pine trees. She waits a few more moments for a sound, but there is no reply. Her paws crunch through the snow once more.

The trees are stiff and silent, draped in cloths of snow. Birds do not cry, and the deer silently bound through the drifting flakes. She watches them pass, too tired to chase after them. She stops and crouches when she catches a familiar scent in the air. Her ears pull back and her teeth bare as a twig snaps. Her sleek, white body sinks into the snow, now blending into one. A rabbit slowly hops into her view. It is plump and covered in its winter fur. Searching for food, it buries its nose into the snow . She coils her muscles and licks her lips. Suddenly, she leaps from the snow. The rabbit jumps away and she picks up the chase.

The trees and bushes become a brown and white blur and she runs faster and faster. Her eyes focus on the rabbit bounding in front of her. Her head lowers to increase her speed. Dodging trees in her way, she moves in sync with her evasive prey.

Suddenly, a grey blur erupts from a nearby bush and grabs the rabbit in its jaws. She slides to a stop and perks her ears. Curious, she watches the intruder. The large, grey wolf stares back. Dropping the limp body, he pads gently over to her. Her fur bristles and her ears pull back with caution. He sniffs her neck and face gently. His snout gently brushes her white fur as he inhales her scent. He finishes and looks at her expectantly. She begins to sniff him, her snout lightly touching his soft, grey fur. She stops and steps back, waiting. His tail begins to wag, and he howls into the sky. She joins him in his moon-song, her tail swaying in time with his. Soon, their duet becomes a triplet, then a quartet, and soon many howls meld into one. The moon-song becomes a beautiful harmony, the many different pitches blending smoothly . The song echoes through the snow-covered valley, filling the ears of every creature. The sleeping bears sigh in their deep winter slumber and the rabbits perk their ears to capture the beautiful song. Soon the song fades away, and all that is left is an empty silence.

She nudges his side and he licks her snout playfully. He trots over to the lifeless rabbit and picks it up once more. He comes back and drops it gently at her paws. They share a meal together under the moonlight.

The stars shine brightly and sing songs of sleep while she walks beside him. Their tails sway lazily as they pad through the snow, leaving a trail of paw prints. He nudges her playfully and bounds ahead a few paces just to turn and look back at her. She runs to him and nudges him as she brushes past with him soon chasing after. Filled with vigor, they dash through the snow. They nudge and tussle like pups, nipping and pawing each other playfully. The forest merely watches their puppy games as they run after each other. Their breath becomes heavy and their paces slow as they begin to tire. Leaping onto a nearby boulder, he howls to the glowing moon. She leaps up beside him and joins him.

She then leaps off and he follows. She leads him to a cave that been carved out of the steep cliff face many years ago. They both curl up on a bed of grass she had brought before the season had changed. Curled up by his side, his head resting protectively on her back, they both sleep peacefully through the night.

The bears continue to rumble ever so often in their deep sleep, and the rabbits slumber deep in their burrows. The forest is somber and silent. The moonlight reflects off the hanging icicles and snow-covered rocks. Snow continues its gentle descent from the grey sky to the cold ground. Several wolves weave a moon-song. The music surrounds the new wolf couple and lulls them deeper into sleep, filled with dreams of their ancestors and what is to come.

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