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Excerpt From 'Mazes'

September 13, 1989



HIS most memorable saying was ``A-woo-woo-woo-woo-wooooooo!,'' the last phrase spoken with a rising inflection. This may be mistaken for one of the North American Indian languages, but was actually idiomatic in a language much studied by the North American Indians, that of the wolf (canis lupus), a powerful totem. Any wolf who said this said, ``I am HE,'' and was a he-wolf. He was also, if he said it with conviction, an Alpha Male, which is pidgin Greek for Top Wolf. Pidgin Greek is a language written by ethologists. Thomas spoke wolf like a native, his father having been an Alaskan wolf. His mother, offspring of a union between a German Shepherd and a Malamute, had the fortune to come into season at a place where male wolves abounded. One of these briefly visited. She was subsequently brought south by a man whose destiny was to be a California milkman; at our door, in 1969, he spoke of ``puppies.'' At that time Thomas was a puppy.

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He was a sad-eyed puppy, and remained sad-eyed his long life. Huge though he grew, his eyes were never alight: always the mirrors of his secret mind, which revolved some primitive woe: that there is no going back, that there is mortality. Through the wolves, his mind reached to the Ice Age, and before.