All my life there’s been this pull to forget everything human. I feel like if I don’t drop everything and wander into the wilderness and don’t look back I’ll have wasted my entire life, no matter what I do.
Yet the mundane realities of life, needing food and shelter and companionship, have kept me here so far. Needing to learn things and meet people and to love and be loved, yes, all are important. So is keeping my commitments—job, lover, pets, family, friends. But I’m sliding more and more, and it seems like when I do go crazy I’ll finally be at peace, because no one else will understand but that’s ok, I’ll just be gone and that’ll be it.
I have no plan. I just need to get out there and wander and see the world and just be, and somehow survive while I do it.
Why do I need to survive? Technically I’m doing it just fine as is—I have a solid home and way to support myself, I have a little bitty community to support me; we’re still not sure about the babies thing. In any case…
Why do I have to do it the old way? Why do I need to learn for myself how to stalk a turkey or deer and skin it and smoke the meat and make my own clothes and learn what to forage and what to avoid and how to hole up for the winter, to make snowshoes and thick fur everything to survive those nights far below zero. Why endure storms and heat when I can be comfortable inside?
Because it’s the right way to do it. It’s the way we always used to do it, and it was good enough. Now I obsess over things that don’t matter at all, like smartphones and what I’m wearing. How is how I look going to save my ass from a bear? Dear gravy am I wired strangely.
Or maybe not. I don’t know. I just know that I need to wander off into the wild and survive… and then somehow life will be better? I’ll finally know what the fuck I’m looking for? This came on before third grade too, before fourth grade and our Native American unit in class and reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This was here, in my head, ever since I betrayed my first-grade friend because she was moving away anyway, what’s the point of sticking with someone who’s just going to be gone forever. I’ve always been lonely since then, I don’t even remember her name.
What crazy spirit bopped me on the head and said, “Tag you’re it”? Why did those pine woods just by our elementary school feel like the place where I should have stayed, and wandered into a forest that doesn’t exist anymore? Crows were always there, sandy soil and red pines and trails among the almost dunes in that far part.
I almost did it too. Slowly wandered away after school with a walking stick and then Dad finally saw me going down the sidewalk towards home because I thought I’d better pick the lock on the house so I can pack up what I’ll need to survive. I was very ashamed and couldn’t speak. No wonder I can’t leave now.
Of course I’m a good little human. Well-trained and well-bred, quiet mostly, tries to be the smart kid they tagged me for when I was little and out-reading everyone else (even the other kids in Junior Achievement lagged behind me, I still don’t understand why the teachers didn’t approve of me reading so fast and well if I was so good at it).
Seems I don’t stick with anything for long. Either I wasn’t trained enough in diligence or I just don’t have the knack for it, rather be out wandering and staring at pretty sunsets.
Maybe I’ll find somewhere to homestead, and we’ll have acres and acres to roam freely. I can go camping in my own backyard. I really doubt that though, it’s not the same. It would be a prettier sort of cage rather than the freedom to wander as I will.
how to fuck do I reconcile all this?