Black Wolf - TW

Black Wolf in Late May Snowstorm

An extraordinary, late-May snowstorm blanketed Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I awoke with great excitement and hopped in my car at 5:30 in the morning, eager to see the sights. There were no other cars on the road, it was still a bit dark, and all of the green Sage brush that had shone in the sunlight the day before was now covered in what looked like layers of marshmallow. The atmosphere was nothing short of magical, but little did I know I was about to have the experience of a lifetime.

Just as I entered Teton National Park, I spotted what at first appeared to be a large dog running through the waist-high, snow-covered field. It ran across the road, right in front of my car, stopped on the other side and glanced back at me for a span of mere seconds. I realized that I was locking eyes with the elusive, otherwise solitary and rarely seen Black Wolf! I grabbed my camera and started snapping away until he disappeared from sight. As if the May snowstorm wasn’t magnificent enough, I had the blessing—the exponential delight—of encountering one of the most beautiful animals I’ve ever seen.

I didn’t think I got the shot as it was dark, it was snowing and the auto-focus of the camera tends to lock onto the snow, obscuring whatever is behind the flakes. However, there was one frame in which the eye of the wolf was not covered with the snow and thus, I now have a photograph that will eternally preserve the experience and enable me to share the joy with others. This is the essence and the gift of photography.

Since May, I have shared this image with countless people, all of whom have remarked in kind about how moved they were to see it. I was encouraged to enter it into the 2020 Teton County Fair wildlife photography contest. Not only did it win the Division Championship for the wildlife photography category, it also won Best in Show! So, here I am, after some gentle nudging by my friend and long-time colleague, David Covington, to post it to Hope Inc. Stories with the wish that one of my primary photography missions would continue to be fulfilled: to preserve mystical moments that I can share with others so that they, too, can feel the joy and the wonder of the beauty around us.

T.L. Wilson

Terry Wilson (formerly Terry Wise) has lived through a myriad of personal and professional lives, each of which has led her to the same place, with the same purpose: to provide hope and inspiration to others. Terry is the author of Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness, a book that offers a road map to emotional health to people who are faced with a diversity of life’s challenges (grief, depression, suicidality). Terry served on the boards of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Association of Suicidology and spent a decade delivering keynote speeches in every state in the United States. After happily re-marrying in 2010, Terry wrote a novel, Viewer Indiscretion, penned under the name T.L. Wilson. Terry’s most recent endeavor as a photographer is to capture and share the beauty of the world around us through a different lens—a camera lens. It is her belief that recovery from mental health challenges is achieved incrementally and it is her hope that each image will provide doses of joy to the eye and warmth to the heart. Her mission is to make the world a better place one book at a time, one word at a time and now…one photograph at a time.

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