To Dance Barefoot in Riverbeds

I recently had the immense pleasure and incredible privilege to see some of the most beautiful, wild landscape of America. My time in each place was short, but I have found myself beyond inspired. Tonight I realized how desperately I am missing the site of the sun setting over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and then I started writing…..

What made us this undead tribe we are today?

What stole from us the rhythm that we danced to under a pinpricked sky by newly found firelight?

What rewrote our stories, erased the beauty and untamed wonder of the unknown and replaced it with convenience and security?

What pulled us away from towering trees, roaring mountainside rivers, the call of the magpie and the hawk?

What romanced us away from the wild, sacred, first love our creator ever handed to his paper doll called Adam?

What coaxed from us all that’s worth knowing, worth touching, worth tasting, worth feeling…and left us nodding our heads, smiling up at our racing-away mortality with empty hands and vacant souls, but houses full of garbage for our strangers we called family to inherit?

The warmth of a shelter, the promise of a meal, the secure safety of a place nailed down and tangible was not the thing that removed us.

The laughter and solemnity, the soulfulness and frustration, the wonder and monotony of community was not the siren’s call that turned our heads and changed our course.

Family and obligation were not our sole motivation for abandoning our wild.

Our greed, our planning, our desire for leisure, and our arrogance of superior intelligence led us out of the wilderness, out of our nature.

Now those same things that led us out are our only keys back.

To see the world as it once was, to be still in a place unsoiled by towering manmade monuments of progress, you have to be a slave to the trade of progress.

To be able to escape to sit under that billion starred sky you must be willing to plan carefully, save dutifully, and desire it greatly.

You must believe you are more like your ancestor’s ancestor that danced barefoot in the river beds than the poor soul who chooses the rigid resort, safe and tame, to wash away the sour spirit this life has spit into the soul of modern man.

You have to carry your arrogance out into the wild, the same arrogance that made your later ancestor believe he was better than the savage of his time…the one who bathed in the river and named the features of earth with the same love and affection as he named his children.

We can’t really return, with all the evolving we have managed. Our eyes aren’t accustomed to the moonlight, our feet are too soft for the river rock, our hands have lost the knowledge of the wilderness.

But like old men and women, as they lay dying, remember with joy the experience of their youth, a ghost of who we are remains within. We can step outside. Breathe. Take off the leather shoes. Remove all the apparatus that tethers us to what we think we are. We can GO…before we collectively forget that the mud we curse on those well heeled, finely made soles is the dust of this earth that gave us life.

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