In the wild, there are a few types of animals that cannot survive without a pack, without members of their same kind around them adding companionship and community to an otherwise lonely existence. In fact, it’s been written that one of the tenants of a self-titled life with meaning is having a sense of community. It’s the feeling that you belong and you fit into the world’s movements regardless of your station in life.
A soul forever seeking the wilderness coupled with a body trapped in the confines of suburbia allows a strange juxtaposition of emotions to occur. When in the mountains, you feel the most at peace, the most relaxed after a day of unease, you know that the mountains are your home. And then when in the city, the concrete trails of modern life before you cause your soul to freeze in the headlights, you know where it is that you don’t belong.
However, in order to merge the two worlds and feel at ease within the confines of the stable body and the whirling soul we must decide between the two worlds and that splits us.
How do you answer that question? How do you cease this inner battle between wanting to go and wanting to stay and wanting to be wild and wanting to be civilized?
The black sheep among a herd of white is the one who can garner the most attention. The one who sticks out as the world’s thumb is the one demanding at least a cursory glance and yet in the face of so much strength how do we garner more?
See, it all boils down to your sense of community.
Community will give you strength when you are weak and community makes you stand tall among others who can guide the curves of your spine. Community will answer the questions you didn’t know there were answers to and it is community that we need to thrive.
Find your wild ones. Find the ones who burn with a passion that other people do not and will not even try to understand. Find the ones who will laugh and smile and cry in the face of mundane acts that everyone else cannot even fathom.
In the words of Jack Kerouac, “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes “Awww!” Those are the people that you never will be able to understand. Try as you might to question their motives or their inherent insanity there will never be a way to hammer them down like square blocks into square holes because they are there to be flattened into the wood or to force you to build a new hole.
That is my wildness. You may not understand, you may try, but most of the time my own mind dies trying. The only way out is to accept it. Embrace the tug, the voice, the urge to do something we ourselves don’t understand.
Like a pack of wolves hunting their prey in a frenzied flurry we must be prepared to grapple with the elements we have been given or die trying.
I can feel the fabric of my being change among the trees. The confidence in my stance change to mirror the pines once blanketing the landscape.
Somewhere in the cosmos of the universe I was mixed with the soul of an elder oak tree or thousand-year-old bristlecone pine or a snake hunting its prey or a sapling beginning its life on the forest floor living in fear from the denizens of that dark world. Somewhere along the lines I was a Native American shaman or a mighty Buffalo felled at the white man’s hand or the soul of a mighty undammed river roaring across the landscape and scouring out the royal gorge.
Somewhere in this world, this body I live in now, there is a way for me to meet again at the confluence of my once wild life and the life I lead today.
Norman McLean told me that, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
Only these words are not theirs.
And I am haunted by far more than the waters.