to me wild means trusting my instincts; lying on a sunny boulder feeling like a lizard, no human sounds but my own breath and heart beat. wild is knowing how to birth a baby with no instructions from a doctor. wild is preferring to sip my tea overlooking a trickling creek than in a bustling cafe. wild is knowing with my entire being that I am part of this earth, just as other creatures are. exactly.
wild is feeling the pulse of the earth as our own. running. walking through a forest, along a beach, up a mountain and feeling "at home". wild is building a fire to stay warm; heck, it's just knowing that it is fire that keeps us warm. taking food from the earth with our own hands is wild. it's instinct; it's intuition.
wild is being connected to life's processes. it's feeling something in our gut; that's what animals do. but beyond that, wild is trusting it.
understanding how nature works helps us understand our own wildness but it's not necessary. we don't need to understand why ants do what they do to appreciate how we are the same (if you don't think we are similar, look at what they are doing.)
babies know they are wild when they cry for a breast (until we teach them it's not time; they have to be nourished on a schedule.) toddlers still know they are wild until we teach them it's not okay to sit in the dirt. we culture and domesticize the wild right out of us pretty quickly. On The Surface.
but if we sit alone by the creek long enough, or watch the birds collecting seeds before a storm, or sleep under stars long enough, we will remember. growing food. hunting food. chopping wood. birthing babies. making fire with a stick. defending our young. swimming in wild water. lying in a sunny patch in the forest with a lover. these things can help us remember.
-being on the computer? probably not.
-rushing in to starbucks for a pumpkin latte? not so much.
-checking stats on facebook/blog/website? nope
but hey, I'm not making fun - I do these things too. They're just not my wildest moments.
we have jobs, we have children and laundry and orthodontist appointments. we have oil changes, toilets to clean, teacher conferences and bills to pay. But, I am a wild creature and I know it. whether it is a trait valued in our culture or not.
So, what does wild mean to you?
As promised, I have another photo of (what I think is) the Coolest Fort Ever. There is more to it than meets the eye. In places there are four stories to this wonderfully crafted junkpile. I will forever be in awe of what these children built. See previous post for another picture.
Something I will miss (on a daily basis) is the way the afternoon sun hits last year's grass and lights it up. Anyone who has connected to land this way will understand what I mean. And for those who haven't, imagine just loving the sight of anything your child does. That pure joy of watching their joy, or the heart wrenching feeling of seeing them hurt. Loving land does compare to that feeling. It is deep in you; it is part of your flesh.
When the rancher up creek clear-cuts the old growth Ponderosa for his cattle, you feel it in your stomach; your heart.
I am leaving Walnut Creek for my family. My youngest child (whose brothers are no longer home) has needed more than what we could provide here on the land. I am not talking about schooling; though she has decided to go to school after being unschooled her whole life. I am talking about more socializing and pursuing her dreams of competitive gymnastics and playing with a sting band. All of these activities are an hour drive from home. Being in town all day, gas prices, getting home after dark, having my dogs pissed off at me, never seeing my horses, not being able to keep up with my garden, and mostly not being able to do my job here at the Walnut Creek Center; these are the reasons why I could not stay here. I am back for the summer (my last) until the new managers take the position. After that...I'm not sure.
My children are only children for another 8 years or so. I can pursue my dreams after they've gotten a good start on theirs. They lived on this land and close to nature, in very remote and rustic conditions for most of their lives. That style of life isn't for everyone and it never felt right imposing my dreams on them (unless they, too, wanted the same thing.)
In a few years, I will move back to the cabin in the mountains where all I hear at night are coyotes, tree frogs and elk bugling. For now, I will enjoy the last six weeks I have with my Love Land. After that, I will still come twice a week to tend to the horses, walk the creeks and mesas, and photograph the land I love best.