Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Don't Quit Your Day Job: Wild as a state of mind
Don’t you wish you could quit your job and disappear into the woods? Doesn’t everyone who browses adventure stuff on the web dream of vanishing over the last visible hill, on a bike, in their hiking boots, with backpackpanniersVolkswagenbuskayak?
Can you wait? Can you use all your powers of patience ‘til you’ve saved enough money, blown enough money, retired, graduated, your spouse has left you?
Is there a secret path up the road a ways, or across the country, that you return to in your mind, thinking, I’m getting to that, I’ve been meaning to check out what’s around the bend there—maybe a perfect wild camping site or a pond or a waterfall mesa canyon moose bighorn sheep wolf—or common grey squirrel, which is wild enough, because, hey, he’s out in the woods and it’s just him and you, mano a mano?
How many days weeks months years in the woods does it take to make a good life? How many trees bird flowers rivers do you have to be able to name on sight?
Do you need to sleep outside for a year (like a high school kid down the road from me did, just to prove he could)? Rub yourself in bear scat? Eat spruce tips for breakfast, wild berries for lunch, catch a trout for dinner with line you wove from willow bark and a hook you fashioned from a pine needle?
If you did all that... I mean, if you never needed another blessed thing from the civilized world... disappeared yourself from the Strava databases, the Facebook bread-crumb trail, the office water cooler check-ins... would you somehow become not less, but something more, as you slowly adapted to the rhythms of the land? LIke the hero in Hatchet who you always envied?
How much would be enough? Would you kill the dream just by chasing it or are you truly one of those more-is-more folks who simply has no governor on their escape mode? Who can live detached from people and their values indefinitely?
* * *
Once upon a time, my passion for making music was bottomless, inexhaustible. I could eat, sleep, breathe, and bathe in it, and never get enough. So, I decided to try and make a life out of it.
One day, years later, I looked up. I realized I had been just turning the crank for some time. Nothing but an unhealthy grinding sound and a few meager drops emerged from the rusty spigot.
I put down the guitar, just to take a break. It’s been over 12 years since, and I've rarely felt the urge to pick it up again.
When you go out, be out. When you’re in, be in. There’s juice everywhere, even if not always the juice you think you want or need.