“Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we come from the woods originally. But in some of nature’s forests, the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature; wild beasts and the weather trying to kill him, the rank, tangled vegetation, armed with spears and stinging nettles, barring his way and making life a hard struggle.”
– John Muir (Scottish-American naturalist and writer)
Nowadays , when we are encouraged to find our “wild side”, we don’t really mean anything that would instill fear in us, or cause us pain.
It’s more like an extravagant extra, something different that takes us out of our humdrum existence.
A bungy jump; a raging party; acquiring some “edgy” art or clothes ; or a trip to somewhere off the usual “tourist trail”. Preferably something that can be posted on social media after the event…
But definitely not something we have to endure, or survive.
My own experience with hellish life events outside my control that took me to dark and wild places (nowhere I would choose), was exactly those two things. You too may have gone unwillingly into your own wild woods…
The words of Muir resonate with me as I think about those times: I knew with absolute certainty that everything could hurt me, anything could have my number.
The feeling of being utterly lost, blocked at every turn, and with each moment fraught with pain and danger, will stay with me always. It has changed my outlook on life, changed me.
The true wild transforms you.
If you survive it that is…