Do You Know What I Mean When I Write This?

Anna Marshall

There’s an aching in these hills and wolves that the locals are trying to kill. Their cattle turn clear streams of rainbow trout into dust and muck. And the sunset screams and I hear it and that wasn’t the sunset at all. 

Once a field in Spain laughed with me. It curled its stitched wheat coat into a grin and belly-laughed like an old man. The land had a sense of humor, the whole world bleeds with life, and that particular plot of land with mischief. 

In Slovenia there is a field of sheep tended by Russian paragliders. From their pasture I once walked many miles along a river the color of liquidated glaciers. I was going to buy a loaf of bread and the river didn’t just look like an iceberg – it was the living, moving calf of one. 

But now I am in these aching hills and I am scared for the wolves. Here, the cattle trample ecosystems that belong to the sagebrush and the wolves. There are places where glaciers run free and fields laugh at their own jokes. But here wolves kill cattle and cattle are nothing but profit. If you see one, shoot it. 

Sometimes, when you hear the world take a breath it is almost too much to bear. Sometimes, the beauty of it all can crack the heart into too many pieces. And right now my head threatens to burst with all the pressure of all this unrecognized life. 

And so when I hear the sound of the gunshots, the ones that strike down the wolves, my head empties into a barren and brutal numbness. With the cruel and empty relief of no longer having to hear the hills breathe, I think ahh, this is the way things are supposed to be.

Anna Marshall

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

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