Digesting Project Wolf
I add haggis to my breakfast bacon bap at Glenmoriston hotel, waiting for the bus which never arrives. I’m hungry in a carnivorous way, after prowling through a night in which we failed as wolves to find any deer. But the deer were all around us, we knew it, and I’m sure our predator eyes were spied by all those doe-eyed ones before our headlamp beams could catch their forest gazes. The ground was a sphagnum sponge and my sock soaked it up through a crack in my welly.
The rubber boots were full and floppy and I felt prisoner to my human gait as we wound uneasy midnight paths over boulders and crags of the rewilding Dundreggan. I heard once about convicts in colonial Australia who were strapped into anchor-heavy footwear, the souls of which bore the broad arrow of crown property to imprint a traceable direction on the ground, in case they attempted escape. Our physical tracks through Dundreggan weren’t pronounced in this way, but our sonic presence marked an equivalent absence of other nighttime creatures that lingered in our wake. I mentioned to Doug that I felt more like a knock-needed fawn than a stealthy canid, and I wondered what the deer made of our clumsy group rampage through the tall and windless trees as we filled in their silence with our squelching footfall. We weren’t in pursuit of prey, I realised, so much as we were chasing our own trails, Alex carrying a GPS device to record the final night walk of the season. Our ambitious direction confirmed the outermost contour on a graph recording and mapping a month of patient territorial progress.
So Project Wolf wasn’t really about wolves as it wasn’t about deer, but tracking something else: gap-spirit of the imprint ownership leaves on a forest pruned around capitalist patterns of thought?