It’s been weeks now since I’ve had any good sleep. I say sleep, but I reckon I could word it better, I suppose I should say rest. I never really sleep. I rest between the night and the dawn, do you know those hours? That secret time that sits and breathes after the last quiet call of the nightbirds. That’s when I find a kind of respite. It is the quietude. It is when the Dreaming slips between the cracks and forms like dew across the brows of children. It’s when hawks fluff against the cold, when even the mole, even the weasel, lie still. The world nests and quiets and the grasshopper mouse curls in on her bed of cricket legs and spider hair. After all the nocturnals return to their dens to rest their ebony eyes and before the moose lifts his bulk from the steaming grass,— I.
I drop into the stillness.
But lately, no. Not even then. I’m struggling to remember my geography. I’ve misplaced my internal maps. Maybe you can understand. I realize my language is puzzling but that’s because I am not as relevant in your life as I used to be. Not only am I losing my place, I’m losing you too.
I listen to my heart. Yes, it’s beating and that’s a relief. Do you ever do that? Listen in the quiet, to your heart? The swooshing of the liquid as it moves through the valve in your chest. This is something we have in common. The heart. It is the center of things. It supplies the working parts.
If it’s ok, I won’t call you by your name. I’ll just believe you exist and you do the same for me. Don’t leave yet. Don’t quit me just because I sound strange. There are things you should know.
These mountains I carry are built from the stones of the beginning. They are waypoints to our existence. I have been running to catch up with you, I know you are busy. I know. If you will give me your hand I’ll take you to the place where the caribou are making tracks across the tundra, following the maps in their hearts to places that exist in their souls. They are carrying their antlers. They are magnificent. And I’ll allow you the fox that sleeps and then peeks with a single amber eye into the center of your eye and on through you to the thicket that grows in the backcountry of your DNA. I’ll show you the bones of your beginning, your peoples and your reasons of being, the source of the songs you might sing if you could remember. We will run across the ramparts where the howls of the wolves trigger howls from the pica. High on knife blade ridges, dropping to benches cradling glaciers, and we will be wild in our decent, where foot falls where hoof falls where paw falls through scrabbling shale. There will be no trail where I take you save that made by your memory at the passing aspens and the herds of turkeys, cloud-crowded skies and bristlecone thickets. Oh come now! And feel that burn in your chest! Yes, legs will ache from this chase. But there’s so much to feel, we’ve only begun, so cough! Cough and exhume the beautiful breath in your ribs and come on come on come on. I noticed the way you looked at your trappings, it’s fine, don’t beat yourself up. I’m not here to judge you, I’m here to explain where I come from and where we are headed. Tune your ears. Fix your smell. We are here in the surf, these are the waves that make all the thunder. Feel my gut, feel that movement? Whales, of course. They are singing, they are traveling, they are guarding my belly. It’s their home, so I’m sure you understand. They are spelling out stories down there in the dark, they are dancing and laughing and loving and dying, because that is the way of the whale. I would show you some stones and some stars and some plankton. Some pipefish and pillbugs and wild potatoes. Some Elders and bushdogs and dogbane and lichen and springs lined with mosses and laden with snails. I would make you cough butterflies and put bears in your belly and fill your head with otters and snakes. All of this so you’ll know me the next time we meet, because I’m dying and I need you to love me. Maybe I’ll live if you can help me remind you that I am still here. I am still here. I am the Wild. I am the Wild. I am the Wild and I am right here.