To remember what we have long forgotten
For most of us the call of the wild is rather difficult to hear. Our instinctive internal calling to be connected to nature-- and thus our bodies-- is a fading awareness. We have forgotten not only how to listen, but most people are unaware that they are not listening at all. Our busy 9-5 stress filled lives add to the growing numbness of our senses which stifles the ability to listen inwardly and outwardly.
What is the call of the wild? It is the magical feeling as one embraces his own relationship and connection with nature. The call comes from inside our bodies, or perhaps it is the soul, I don’t know. What I do know is the experience I have when I do allow myself to hear this call within me. This is the experience of knowing that we are truly part of nature: sitting on the shore of a lake where nothing man-made can be seen; and the loon sings it’s eerie haunting song; watching a bald eagle on the wing; making a fire in the rain and cooking dinner; a 1200 lb. moose as we silently drift by in a canoe. Something magical happens when we allow ourselves to slow down in nature and listen. Listen to the silence all around. Listen to all feelings within. Here is where our bodies and our true nature become alive. As Emerson wrote, "Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience."
This summer as I prepared for my twentieth wilderness canoe trip, I noticed something inside me that I thought I would never experience prior to going into the wilds. This was my own resistance to going. I realized that I would be leaving my comfort and perceived safety and control of my life, for the unpredictability of nature. This resistance seemed more formidable than the bear or moose I would soon be witnessing. I realized that for me to answer the call of the wild would require me willingly to choose to leave my comfortable world. It seems to me that as the stress of responsibilities mount, and our desire for comfort grows, harder it is even to hear the call.
Being in nature is a spiritual journey, and hence by it’s very nature a great mystery and most certainly unpredictable. Yet, this is precisely where the beauty within and the spirit of the wilderness meld into many joyous opportunities to connect deeply and to grow. It is this willingness to be uncomfortable that brings an aliveness to my being. I feel my body, I feel awake.
What I myself have experienced and have heard from the countless people with whom I’ve traveled, is a profound sense of self that emerges. I struggle here to find the words to covey what my heart and soul knows. As I strive for personal awareness, and authenticity, I have no better place to learn than nature.
"We need the tonic of the wilderness…to be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor. A night in which the silence is audible I heard the unspeakable."
Henry David Thoreau
Shhh... listen............ Can you hear it? It’s calling you, listen…