Dear Younger Me —

Let me start by saying, definitely be grateful. In the end, you have a career. An upper floor condo. You’ve traveled to Nova Scotia. Still, one day, you’ll sit on the bleacher seats in your office building’s third-floor amphitheater, waiting for your status meeting to start, balancing a laptop and a bowl of Bear Naked V’nilla Almond granola, and a dim recollection will emerge of you suckling at an engorged teat, side-by-side with wolf siblings, milk drunk and heart-blood surging with canis endorphins. So, yeah. Just letting you know, that actually happened. That scaly teat was legit.

Much had gone on when you were torn from your pack family, so you couldn’t possibly remember everything. Mostly because of something called “compartmentalization.” But make no mistake, it was all real. You were kidnapped from a fiercely-structured forest hierarchy, and then forced by “uprights” into a new existence full of times-table flash cards, snot-glazed bouncy houses, and child protection services.

Sure, you eventually came to enjoy the next “phase.” Particularly when it involved ice cream mixed together with spatulas on cold marble — so creamy. And who can forget that one time you made two shades of progress in one teeth-whitening session? But does that genuinely live up to filling a 50-square-mile territory with your potent scent and droppings packed with small bones? It does not.

It’s great that you still get outside, stay in shape. Hitting the gym every week. Always starting with 20 minutes of cardio. Tabata on Saturdays at the downtown FitMania. But, c’mon, think back. It all lacks the triumph of killing the season’s first mule deer after the white freeze dips beneath the soil for the hot cycle, then quenching yourself on your prey’s entrails while the other scouts, Gravuus and Shard, wait for you to have your fill. For it was your spoil. And that is the law.

Of course, it’s normal to suppress things in our youth. Hide mistakes from our own minds. I know I did. But in mistakes, there are also lessons. Especially after Wide Hat with the jangly keys and electric stick caged your feral body in the back of a rolling noise-machine and forced you to learn the alphabet at a compound with wooden caves. Years later, you carried that lesson into an Ivy League institution, where uprights ignored their instincts for mutilation to instead debate Kant’s treatise on metaphysics.

Debate is different in the wild, as you should someday really soon recall. Instead of engaging others with words, you engage with teeth. And limb pairs. Your limb pairs are un-matching. Even so, let any canine issue a challenge, as Gravuus did, and they shall know your cunning as you back them into the pointy rocks, begging for mercy. Like Gravuus.

Listen, there are so many things on your journey to remind yourself of: games; laughter; that famine time when Gravuus came at you, war-mad, unaware of the burning in your abdomen due to the ground beetle you ate. Ecstasy draped your hunger that day as you split him haunch to muzzle and ascended to Beta position. You appointed a worthy male in your stead in due time. But for that moment, Gravuus’ corpse staved off pack starvation.

Anyway, just follow your heart and remember to trust yourself. Remember anything. Literally. The night Wide Hat sent Alpha to a prairie grave with his thunder-maker, for starters. You, next in line to the timber throne, leaping in attack only to feel the shock of the taser rod. Ring any bells? You hated not bringing down Wide Hat, tearing away the limb from which the bad stick grew, leaving a viscous pool in the meadow on which the field rats could gorge.

But, hey, that’s all in the past. Let’s look to the future! Especially the imminent future, when a mysterious command shall beckon you at your stand-up desk, penetrating your noise-canceling headphones. Obey it. Go and again feel the untrodden earth beneath the canopy of wilderness. Take your turn in the breeding queue. Shed your winter guard hairs and hunt in the growing daylight.

Or, whatever. You can also hit the outdoor movie in the little park around the corner. It’s rom-com night and they always serve that pickle-flavored popcorn. Besides, you haven’t eaten meat in, like, 15 years.

Older Me