There are people who need the wilderness as an energiser. They must wade through swamps, be plagued by insects, scratched deep by sharp stones, burn their necks in the hot sun, have their brains blown out of their skulls, and their belongings drenched to the bone by pounding rain – and all this just in order to sense that nature is within them. They see how life around them holds no barriers or boundaries, no moral and no compassion, how dispassionately existing beings are extinguished and others created anew, how hunger as the supreme law defines and regulates everything – a hunger that is never stilled and leads inevitably to a situation where everything constantly gnaws and bites, sucks and snaps, swallows and crushes, spoils and makes rot. Just the realisation of this truth, that they are momentarily escaping this great gluttony, serves to strengthen the disposition of these lovers of the wilderness.
Others feel equally tempted to follow the call of the forest, the chirp of the tundra, the fluting rustle of the grass banks. But these individuals see, above all else, danger in everything everywhere. Every mussel in the pond, which blows a few air bubbles into the water, evokes in their bodies horrible images of the monstrous fauna that hide in the sludge of the banks. These anxious ones also know that life knows no limits, but they are not strong enough to accept this fact. So, the wilderness simply provokes a sense of impotence and frailty in them. Just a simple bath in a cold river in the north is sufficient to make them all too aware of their limitations – when they jump back into their clothes with racing heart, swimming head and buzzing ears, they can no longer hear the great song of the wilderness.
Whether one listens to the call of the wild or to the call of anxiety is probably a question merely of overcoming, of conquering; but perhaps it is equally a matter of trust – or, given the case, simply of the water temperature.
First Publication: 6-8-2013