The Wolves of Scandinavia

I was out walking in the Norwegian mountains the other day, when through the trees, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a formidable sight. Standing no more than a stone’s throw away, I saw the daunting figure of a solitary wolf.

Yes, a wolf. It was not impossibility, more improbability, to see such a creature this far west. There are many wolves in Scandinavia, however it is only on rare occasions they are sighted in the western regions, where I live amongst the fjords. Sometimes they are sighted in the mountains around Bergen, but as you head further east towards Sweden the sightings become more and more frequent.

Most wolves in Norway are congregated in such a fashion so that as you move east, the population density increases. In fact, as you come to the forests outside Oslo, wolves are very common, and there are perhaps as many as one for every square meter of land. It has been quite a problem for the locals to have to put up with such a high population density of wolves. Head further east again, and the problem magnifies. Now even the wolves are inconvenienced by their own abundance.

In many Eastern regions the animals no longer have enough room to turn around in 360 degree motions, but have to assemble themselves shoulder to shoulder. There they stand, touching together their coats of fur, wolf for wolf, pressed against each other ever so tightly. In the furthest eastern reaches of Norway there is but a single line of wolves, panting helplessly, jostling for room to breath. This is where the border between Norway and Sweden lies; where the wolves become impassable.

It is known as ‘The Great Wolverine Wall of Scandinavia’, much like the great wall of China, just made from wolves. Many people say that you can see the great wall of China from space, but this of course is a popular misconception; a myth. It is far too thin. There are only 3 man-made objects that can be seen from space: The Panama Canal, The Pyramids of Giza, and my letterbox. However the latter is visible for much different reasons.

Whilst the first two objects can be seen due to their sheer size, it is its remarkable height that allows my letterbox to be seen from above. My letterbox towers so far above the clouds that the laws of perspective mean that it appears to be much closer, much larger than it is in reality. You could imagine the great feat of concentration required to scale such an object to retrieve my mail!

Every morning I must climb my letter box to retrieve check for mail. Each time, I mentally prepare myself, clearing my thoughts and stilling my mind. Such a task cannot be taken lightly, as the consequences of a break in concentration are unmentionable. The slightest distraction could prove to be fatal. Each morning, as I leave the house, I take a roll of duct tape and two Mason jars with me. I attach the jars to my head, one over each ear, so that I would appear from a distance to be some sort of bipedal hammerhead shark.

Placing these two large glass objects over my ears immediately blocks out any intrusive noises that may compromise my ability to focus. Once in place, I can tape them on either side of my head, so that the duct tape passes between my top lip and my nose. How dignified I must look: much like a guard at Buckingham Palace. With my chest puffed outwards, I walk cheerfully down my driveway to my letterbox, counting the paces, preparing myself for the task ahead. Sometimes from the corner of my eye I can see people pointing and speaking ebulliently about me. I cant ever hear them of course, only the fishes that swim in the ocean of silence created by my two Mason jars. But still they point and stare. They must think me so admirable.

Letterbox climbing is a very old Norwegian tradition that not many people are capable of executing these days. I however, am becoming quite the letterbox climber. Using the technique I learnt from coconut hunters in Polynesia, I effortlessly scale up the single post that holds my mail above the clouds (sometimes I wonder if they can see me from space). Occasionally I pause and look out to the east, and from my lofty vantage point I can see the Wolves of Scandinavia… wolf for wolf, pressed up against each other ever so tightly, forming a blurred, impassable border. That magnificent conglomeration of canines, that is The Great Wolverine Wall of Scandinavia.

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