Amid the hustle and bustle of every day life it is easy for me to overlook the ordinary things in life. Right now I’m sitting on the dark grey leather couch that I painstakingly chose for it’s comfort, color, and wide upholstered arms. My feet are propped up the long red ottoman that I occasionally turn longways into a make-shift chaise lounge. To fight off the sudden chill in the air, I’m wrapped up tightly in a grey and white wool blanket that depicts a wolf standing at the top of an outcropping of rocks, howling into the night.

I don’t usually think much about these things. They are a part of my usual routine of getting comfortable for a bit of TV, reading, or knitting. Today, the stillness of the winter day causes me to pause and reflect on my surroundings. It’s a feeling that inevitably overcomes me this time of year.

The grey and white throw, affectionately known as my “wolf blanket”, has been with me for over twenty years. It belonged to my twin brother, David, for a very short period of time. My brother was an enormous fan of all things wolf. At sixteen years of age he wrote letters to organizations that were threatening the habitat of grey wolves. Protecting these beautiful creatures had become a mission for him, and he would send any extra money to help conservation efforts. So many of his t-shirts were of howling wolves, lone wolves, and gorgeous wolf faces staring back intelligently. When the doctors discovered David’s brain tumor he went immediately into the hospital where he wore drab hospital gowns and drank out of plastic cups. Instead of his beloved outdoors and wildlife, he was surrounded by cold walls and attached to beeping equipment. After a few weeks a man who worked with my father, a man neither my brother nor I had ever met, purchased a stunning grey and white blanket to keep David from getting cold in the drafty hospital room. He loved his blanket so much and was always tucked in underneath it.

Only a few short months later David passed away. Twenty years later I still have many things that belonged to him including notes to friends, his journals, and the high school class ring he only wore once. The most beloved thing I have of his is this well-loved wolf blanket. It keeps me cozy when I’m sick or down. It helps me look forward to the winter time when I can curl up underneath it. During the coldest months it stays piled on top of my bed so I can burrow inside. Underneath it, I am warm and safe and loved. It is an absolutely extraordinary blanket.

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