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“Wolfheart” — watercolors on cold press paper

Like small children locked in a dark room in a stranger’s house, each of us is terrified of being alone in the Universe.  We bleat about the sanctity of individuality, about our sacred uniqueness as individuals.  But in moments of doubt and loneliness, we search out the company of like beings to verify our worth.

We’ve unknowingly enslaved ourselves to external validation.  It begins in the complete dependence of infancy and takes even deeper root when, as teens still coming into being, we strive to stand out yet fit in, simultaneously.  One goal nullifies the other.

How can we find any measure of internal peace, how can we be in harmony with ourselves or our fellows when these contradictions are ripping us apart, both as individuals and as group members?

We brand ourselves with mass-manufactured fashion.  We loudly profess our tastes in culture, in order to belong to the groups of our choices.  We raise our voices in chorus, to praise or protest.

We’re sheep.  We want to belong to the fold.

A shepherd might watch over some of us.  Not to protect us from the wolves, but to hoard us.  We’re resources — his food and shelter.  The shepherd protects us only up to the time his belly rumbles.

The wolves, at least, are honest in their intentions.  And wolves never take more than they genuinely need at the moment.

Hiding in the illusory safety of the fold always dulls my wits and reflexes.  I decay into weakness and stupidity within the fold.

With a shepherd I know I’m doomed.  Considering the duplicity of shepherds, I’m inclined to take my chances with the wolves.  With the wolves I at least have a chance, however slim.  Dealing with wolves forces me to grow in strength and intelligence.

And I will always know where I stand with a wolf.

— Ryl

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