I sit under a wild apple tree at the edge of the clearing. Like a plant, I absorb the mild October sun. At the same time, I attentively listen to the sounds of the forest. Suddenly I hear a stomping of dry leaves about twenty meters ahead of me, slightly to my right. A wolf emerges out of the thicket. He stops for a moment, glances around, then starts crossing the clearing. A few moments and another wolf appears. After a brief pause, he follows his pal. They parade right in front of me, sinuous, silent, and feral. They do not see or hear me, and yet I am right there, by their side, in plain sight1. It is all over in a few seconds. The couple leaves the clearing and disappears into the forest. I stand sitting there, shocked and in complete awe.

Incredibly, the scene above is real. It happened to me last Sunday, in the wild Apennines, in a place I’ve been visiting for years. I’ve seen a lot of animals there: wild boar, deer, badgers, foxes. I knew wolves frequent the area but meeting them, in the plain day? No way. I dreamed about it, of course, but never expected it would really happen. I had goosebumps, and I still have them now as I write this. I keep telling myself it’s impossible. And yet, I have photos on my cellphone. In the heat of the moment, I somehow managed to snap a couple. My family confirms the wolves. It was not a dream.

  1. In hindsight, I think that having been sitting there motionless and not producing any sound for a long time did the trick. By pure luck, I also happened to be downwind to them. [rss]: https://nicolaiarocci.com/index.xml [tw]: http://twitter.com/nicolaiarocci [nl]: https://buttondown.email/nicolaiarocci ↩︎