Excerpt 1:

     “For any long journey we must make plans and have guides,” the bird explained. “You may choose your guides to take you into their world and tell you how all things came to be connected. They will tell you how the balance was lost and help you reach into the future once you have come to understand the past.”

     Kumi sat in silence. He looked around the circle, unsure of his choice yet knowing its importance. Then he saw them, side by side sitting apart from the others, two creatures of the night forever connected in the darkness to one another. From different worlds but watching together, were the wolf and the owl.

     He remembered his grandfather’s words, not so very long ago. “At night there are voices, voices that call to one another. Though many animals come awake when the rest of us sleep there are only two who will reach out, calling out to warn and guide the others. Listen in the darkness, Kumi, and you will hear the cry of the wolf and the owl calling out her answer. The others walk the night in silence; you will never know they are there. Wolf and Owl still call out, letting all who can hear them know that they have command of the darkest night.”

Excerpt 2:

     “I have traveled a long way this night,” he told the gathering. “I have come to find the answers to many questions. Is there one among you willing to share your wisdom with a stranger?”

     He watched as one by one, the quiet eyes looked around in the firelight. Then, as if by some unspoken words, each one of the shadowed faces looked to a figure dozing in the background. The small boy who had lead Kumi to the gathering walked quietly to the figure and spoke. “Auntie, a stranger has come. Wolf and Owl have brought him from far away to learn and to hear what you alone can share.”

     The figure sat up, refreshed from her short slumber to gaze into the darkness of the lodge. “Come closer; I must look into your eyes in order to see into your heart.”

     Kumi approached and then stopped, suddenly frightened. The woman gazed at him with eyes as blue and as pale as the ice that drifted across the northern seas. “Who are you?” he asked. “Where have you come from?”

     She stood up slowly, unfolding her long legs until she stood taller than anyone in the lodge. Her hair was the color of the sun and she smiled with pleasure at the guest who had arrived so unexpectedly.

     “Your People have walked the earth for many generations, Kumi. You have a family and a village where you have been protected and loved. But the world is a large and wonderful place and there are others who walk upon it. There are many like you and many far different. You must learn, as all those who share the earth must, to walk in balance with all living things.

     When you see me, you see someone unlike anyone you have ever known. My appearance seems very strange to you and that can be a frightening thing. But as you have traveled to this place with Wolf and Owl you have seen that all things can live in harmony. The world grows when we accept and learn from those we do not know or understand. I have come to be with the People so that we may share the knowledge each of us has gained.”

     “Help me to understand,” Kumi asked. “Just when I think I know all I need to know, there is more to learn. Will it always be this way? Will I ever have all the answers I seek?”

     The pale eyes twinkled as she replied, “Kumi, you will never have all the answers because with each answer there will be more questions. That is how we learn and grow.

     Answers are not all there is to knowledge. Questions are the beginning of wisdom and wisdom brings more questions.”

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