Commemorating twenty years since the wolf’s return to the American West, Howl explores passions and controversies surrounding nature’s most fascinating predator. Susan Imhoff Bird travels the West, journeying from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, through Yellowstone and Montana. Along the way, she interviews ranchers and park personnel, wolf watchers, biologists, and families, uncovering a range of emotions—from admiration and reverence to vitriol and anxiety—toward wolves and all that they have come to signify.
Drawn to wolves’ resilience and innate sense of place, Bird discovers important personal truths and desires as she learns more about these often-misunderstood creatures. At a crossroads in her own life, she shares her personal triumphs, her self-doubt, and difficult scenes from her past: caring for a son with cerebral palsy whose blue eyes won’t meet her own, stripping wallpaper with a husband whose hidden layers have built up a barrier, a long dark night of pain while recovering from a severe bicycle accident. An emergence beyond these periods of her life and a respect for how they have shaped her drives Bird to find her voice and her self—unfettered, and wild as a wolf’s howl. With gentle humor, graceful prose, and plenty of licorice for the road, Bird illustrates the ways in which wolves, wild places, and a willingness to listen may lead, finally, to healing. Susan Imhoff Bird finds inspiration in Utah’s stunning canyons, valleys and water-sculpted rock. A mother of three and owner of a gratitude-based business, she is fascinated by human interactions. When not writing, reading, trying to meditate, or attempting yoga asanas, she can be found on her bicycle or snowshoes, absorbing the wisdom of the natural world. And occasionally howling. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.