Why did I choose to advocate for Wisconsin wolf recovery? It all started in a dream. In 1991 I had one of those dreams, that was so vivid, that you wonder if the dream was real. 

The dream took place in an old period style house. The house had bay windows that went from ceiling to floor, and the house was empty, not a stitch of furniture in sight. The walls were all white. 

Painting by the artist Andrew Wyeth
In the dream I was standing in the living room in front of the bay windows.  All at once, I was startled by the sounds of screaming children coming from outside of the bay windows.  I opened the middle bay window, and looked towards the sound of the screaming children. What I saw was a path with thorn trees on each side, and about halfway down the path there was an opening. I heard the voices of screaming children coming from this opening.

Photograph by John E Marriott
Then, at the end of this pathway appeared a grey wolf. The grey wolf and I locked eyes.  My thought was to save the children from him, and I jumped out of the open bay window. Then, ran towards the grey wolf, who was now running directly towards me. To my surprise, instead of colliding with the wolf; we went through each other as if we were invisible. Our eyes were still locked together as we went through each other. I awoke from the dream feeling as if I had been awake.

What was the meaning behind this vivid dream?  

The meaning of the dream was revealed while on my first art teaching assignment at Pine Ridge Reservation a year later.

The dream’s message was revealed the day I saw the period style house and Russian Olive trees on the reservation.  I discussed this dream with a Lakota elder, who graciously interpreted the dream for me.

The Lakota elder told me that my destiny was intertwined with the wolf in the dream, because the wolf is a teacher. In the dream, both myself and the wolf, were protecting the children. The elder then told me that I would have nothing to fear from the wolf; as long as I did nothing to harm him.  

I believe in destiny…