April 06, 2001

the wild is calling, calling....

The new quotation Iíve added above is from Ewan MacCollís song The Joy of Living, which is actually his farewell to life and the people and things he loved. The whole thing is beautiful, but those two lines, especially, make me want to go out and do....things. I havenít figured out what things, exactly, yet, but I know if I did them, theyíd be profound and significant and Iíd be a better woman for the experience.

Watching sunrises over mountains and water is probably one of them; if youíve been wondering just why I row at 5AM, thatís one of the reasons.

Right now, too, the desert is in a mood thatís just asking for someone to go out and play in it. There was a big storm last night and now everything is fresh and a bit cool. Thereís a wet breeze that smells of sage, and big cottony clouds piling up above the palm trees outside my window. Iím sure the ocotillo is in leaf and maybe in bloom, and the saguaro will be budding soon, those big funny buds that look like clumps of hair sticking up out of a head.

MacColl was writing about the Scottish Highlands, but itís the mood of his words and the love for the physical world that come through, much more than the details of crag and heather. Robert Service, whose words hit me harder than many a poet who is considered artistically superior, did the same thing in Call of the Wild:

Have you gazed on naked grandeur where thereís nothing else to gaze on,

Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,

Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,

Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?

Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,

Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?

Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for Godís sake go and do it;

Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.

Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;

Let us journey to a lonely land I know.

Thereís a whisper on the night-wind, thereís a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go.

Itís easy to hear that call, if you pay attention when youíre outside on a day like this.

There are other verses, about the desert and the Arctic and the bonds of civilization, but itís the verses Iíve quoted, the first one and half of the last, that are strong enough, if they came at exactly the right time, to make a person quit her desk job just to seek her fortune.

Iím stil here, so either Iím wrong or itís not the right time. But maybe someday...

Then again, I always remind myself, after his time at Walden Pond, Thoreau came back out of the forest, and back into Concord.

Posted by dichroic at April 6, 2001 04:31 PM
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