In Solar Storms, by Linda Hogan, Wolverine is a ghostly, animal-hybrid presence, drawn to lost souls, hungry for trouble, and eager to destroy, entrap, and deceive. He is a mythic invisibility, and he trails the women of the novel through their journeys, inscrutable.
Yet a wolf is different — a wolf is a guardian of nature itself, silent and mournful. There are five generations of women concurrently living, rowing canoes, and seeking justice in the novel. They are deeply and cruelly connected to nature, and they live their commitment to water and land and each other’s welfare in fierce ways. When Agnes sees her impending death, she tells her great-granddaughter Angel to leave her body where it lies, to be devoured by the birds and wolves. Angel is bothered by this image, but more tortured when Agnes dies while Angel is off seeking her cure. The other women set Agnes’s body afloat on a canoe filled with blue flowers– a floating memorial oasis in deep waters– and plan to come back to take her to her burial. But when they return, Agnes’s body is gone. Angel realizes that Agnes’s wish has been fulfilled. Later in the novel, when she sees wolves, she calls them Grandmother, believing as her people do that spirits come back in new forms.
I happened to come upon these poems today:
“Soul Fox” by David Mason
“Sun and Rain” by Sandy Coomer
I think the idea of mythic reincarnation keeps trotting along in my mind these days, after writing an essay that incorporated reincarnation, birthmarks, generational trauma, and the idea of depth. If I were to be reborn, what would I be? Where did I come from?
I like to think I’d be a fox. Little, unassuming, not wealthy in brute strength, but wiley and fierce when I need to be. And a dweller in the snow and the woods and the quiet places.