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Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

Not any longer, anyway. What was it to be wild? To be free in that way, or at least to feel that way?

Wild. Wild gentians. Wild ginger. Wild berries.

What do we mean when we say wild? Do we mean that guy leaning insouciantly against the wall, one tennis-shoed foot up on the wall behind him, tucked into his leather jacket, observing the world, waiting for something to happen, rakish hair just so? Is he wild and not menacing only because he’s handsome?

Wild. The baby bears we saw in Shasta. The one that ran along the path and up the mountainside to escape my son on our hike. The one I glimpsed, also clambering up a hillside, glancing over his shoulder at me. Were they wild?

Wild versus domesticated.

If I were wild, if I remembered wild, would I be less anxious? What is anxiety if not a holding onto shoulds or musts? What is anxiety if not a belief that we’re somehow doing it wrong? That we’re imposters in our own lives, that if we’re not careful, we’ll be found out, discovered?

Discovered to be what? A fraud? How can I be a fraud if I’m simply trying to find my way? Ah, but there’s the rub. Am I trying? Do I take myself seriously? Do I engage fully in my own life?

Maybe wild is the audacity to believe that my own reality is all that really counts (for how could it be otherwise?). Maybe it’s radical trust in the universe. Maybe it’s an existential letting go, letting be, a giant sigh, a relaxation into the arms of the universe.

Without being able to read the future, when will we know we have enough? Have done enough? Are safe enough? Good enough?

What does it mean to live at full throttle? To engage fully, unabashedly? To take oneself seriously? To really, finally, actually understand we have but one perfect life to live?

Writer, copywriter, editor, and word lover. Subscribe to my newsletter at christywhite.substack.com

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