Erstwhile Wild: Nature Taught me How to Be a Woman.
I am no stranger to the white flag. I toss it in the fork-tongued face of civilization and retreat daily back to the only war-less lands where peace still reigns.
There I need not crane my neck to catch a hopeful eyeful of the end of a tunnel of taxed labor. There I can shed indoctrination like too-tight gloves and feel the truth again with my own bare hands. There I have no name. Only a face, which only the sun, no screen, illumines.
The wind hushes the trees. “Ssshhh… let it be,” she whispers. Perhaps her gentle persistence is what keeps the woods so still. “Ssshhh,” rustle the leaves… “Ssshhh,” whistles the ravine… And now even my steady stream of silent thoughts and gentle footfalls seem loud. “Ssshhh,” the she-breeze reminds me, breathing past my shoulder, shivering an airy finger on her invisible lips. “Seedlings are sleeping in the soil,” she shows me.
I no more have a name here than today has a date. Numbers I might lay between the margins of sunrise and sunset are sillier gibberish than whatever finches twitter, and far less relevant. I left my civil jargon at the trail head.
Here I converse with the birds… they patiently bear my clumsy accent and dumbly echoed chirps. Rocks guardingly grip my bare feet as I climb. The sun will tan my skin, the trees will shade me. The Earth will hold me. We have a contract there’s no need to sign.
I am never more free than as far as I can run from the freedoms afforded by this people-farm. Here is my white flag… may it wave forever in the smoggy breezes of your cities as a reminder that I, surrendered, drink wild air elsewhere.
No, I have no reticence to surrender. I sidestep the fights and flights of the public jungle. I’m dodging the draft to drudgery. This ref will call time out for every foul play from fake peoples’ preoccupation with form, and bureaucrats’ penchant for forms. I’m throwing my flag on this yard-line. Yards are for pets, anyway. The forest is for creatures like me.
In the loudly bright beeping world I was born to, even the sincerest of my species measure me by mask and form. But here amid my Earthling kin, I am only as lovely as the blind soil and eyeless stones, who are the height of beauty.
Elegance is a forest makeover with dirt on my face and pine needles in my hair. My blush is the flush of the sun on my cheeks. My lipstick the drip stains of wild berries. My eye shadow the dirt that clings to the tears I press face down, hoping to quench this drought-thirsty soil from the rain of my love-drenched soul. Cosmo, eat your heart out.
Nature taught me to be a Woman. Her slippery creek stones instructed my feet to dance. Her fallen logs taught my body to balance, and her winged bards my voice to sing. From her trees I learned what to seek in a Man: roots, shelter, humility, courage, grandeur.
I learned to love my naked body from the naked flowers and naked stones. A gnat walking my hip bone and a scent on the breeze have taught me to be the witness at the center of my senses. Nature is the Master of Tantra, and I am her daughter.
A giant raven once swooped up my heartbeat in its beak and bore it back to the sky. I was without my own rhythm as it beat through the clouds. I watched from below, internally still, mouth agape, utterly silent. Finally my heartbeat drummed back into me through raindrops tapping my skin, soaking through, coursing in my blood, enlivening my heart with a wilder pulse than could ever be tamed again.
My feet are home ankle-deep in dirt because they know they are earthen. Feet are wise, and they remember they’re roots. The body is a menagerie of creature instincts, containing birds and mountain lions.
The mind is tricky. But still, each night, within the cage of its four walls and blankets, my body retreats to those inner landscapes where it can run, fly, and roar. If I wake up tired in the morning it is because I have been stalking my prey and fucking in rivers all night. Times when I don’t do it during the day, I can never get a good night’s rest.
There is a fractal depth here. With its prodding fingers and dissecting mind, the world misses the point. Everything man-made is two-dimensional. A cross section of concrete is concrete. A cross section of soil is an entire micro-biome of life, a cosmos unto itself.
I have never belonged to anything but the Earth. So bury my arms and legs and such in her dark mouth when I’m finished with them.
I want to be devoured by the Mother who sustains all life as we spin through space suckling her breast and scratching her face.
And now, when the wind blows, she whispers her thanks. “Thanks for quieting down. Thanks for listening. Take your white flag back from suited civil hands and rejoin cogs in the wheel of your warring world until our next dalliance.”
Covered in dirt, sweat and cactus needles, belly full of greens and heart full of untamed drumbeats, I leave my home and go back to my house.
Isabel Friend is a wordsmith, jeweller, dancer, incurable gypsy wanderer, nutritionist, yoga teacher, biker chick, wild qalandar, and psychonautic cosmogyral redamancer. She is currently working on accumulating ever more nouns and adjectives to hang upon her name and laugh at.