We go into the wild because it reveals to us what we refuse to see about our daily existence: that most of life can not be known in advance. Can’t be listed out, quantified, managed.
Even scanning mountains from a distance tunes me into the unknown. Deep below the thinking mind, I remember the animals roaming around up there, making a go of it by killing their meals, or fighting for mates. The dark thickets of brambles, trees, and vines, that, once entered, might never surrender me.
This is not different from what I face when I awake in the morning. The true nature of reality, which we lose when we sit inside big, upholstered boxes with automatically cooled air and instantly warmed food.
The other morning, I woke up to the vivid memory of a dream clearly inspired by H is for Hawk:
There is a bird on my hand
a foot and a half tall
with a specific weight I can feel in the grip of her
digging into my fingers, gently curved to welcome her
I stroke her oily, rattling breast feathers
a pulsing pleasurelight
glowing with each beat of her unknowable heart
Half goshawk, half owl
Hawkowl, a new species, sighted only in dreams
I know that she knows me as distinct from other humans
And prefers me
Mostly because, when she lifts from my hand,
which also lifts with the loss of her weight,
She returns, no matter how far she’s flown or where we are
She comes back when I make my fumbled calls to her,
not yet knowing her language
As she hulks on my knuckles, gripping, shifting,
She speaks to me through her piercing eyes
You are this
Where is the this that you are?
You are this
Feral. Strange. Uncivilized.
Language fails and
In its place
heat of body-knowing
* * *