Hello, old friend. It has been a lifetime since we last spoke.
You thought you lost me, but I was only resting.
Now, I am back — and stronger.
The roar of the earth has shaken me —
awakened from my complacency, I find compromise a cage that may no longer contain me.
So now, old friend, it is time for you to remember:
The cruel wind of barren peaks in your nostrils.
The hot earth of a savage beach between your toes.
The swirling ice of mountain lakes upon your skin.
Beneath your chest, the unruly flames of irrepressible passion.
Think again of what you have known:
Monsoons have kissed your face;
Ancient moss has cradled your feet;
Iridescent seas have caressed your body;
And you have made love to the sun —
In other lives, or this one.
Old friend, do you remember yet? Has my voice called up your recollections?
You are the tiger in the forest, and I am the ferocity in your jaws.
You are the hawk in empty skies, and I am the space within your bones, urging you to fly.
You are the serpent at the heart of the world, and I am the knowing in your blood.
You are the fire, and from your immolation I rise.
Do you recognize me now?
I am the wildness inside.
And it is time for you to remember. To reclaim. To return. To revive.
Jump again from moving buses; dive again to swirling depths
rise again from your own ashes; die again a hundred deaths.
For the wildness inside you will never perish; I only tire, then surge afresh.
I am the heartbeat that called you to the forest; don’t you hear me beneath your chest?
Go into the mountains, and give your breath to the wind.
Go into the wilderness, and surrender your fury to the sands.
Go into the ocean, and bow your head to those waters.
Go into the empty blue, and free your self of your fetters.
Smile as you’re dancing; smile as you dream.
Smile the smile of a creature released; smile a smile with power in its seams.
Old friend, you never lost me; my pulse is ever your own.
I am the wildness inside — now do you remember my song?
Touch your finger to your wrist. Feel how we have grown.
Catch my reflection in every surface. Let me carry you home.
Toby Israel is an incorrigible vagabond. She travels in search of dragons, mermaids, adventures and searches… and cross-cultural understanding. Avid dancer, yogi, cook and lover of words, she is inspired by movement and poetry, good food and new things. She studied Anthropology at Middlebury College and now seeks to squeeze by as a freelance writer. She writes a column for Elephant Journal, and a travel blog, Next Stop World. You can also follow her journey on Twitter and Facebook.