"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Last night, I picked up my copy of WILD, by Jay Griffiths, the book that inspired this blog and much of my journey west last summer.  It is also the book from which the quote at the top of my blog came.  WILD is a memoir of sorts, and a travel book of sorts.  This woman, Jay, travelled through some of the most wild places on earth, from northern Alaska to Papua New Guinea, living with the native people there, learning from them more about what it means to truly be wild.  This book took her seven years to write.  It is raw.  It is beautiful.  It is brave.

So last night I picked it up again, just to flip through and read some of the parts I had underlined in my first read.  I got chills once again, accompanied by the overwhelming desire to jump out of my chair and run, singing, from here to California and back - just to scratch my insatiable itch for wild adventure.

So here, for your pleasure, are some of what I say are the most inspirational parts to what I say is one of the most inspirational books:

"I know this chloroform world where human nature is well schooled, tamed from childhood on, where the radiators are permanently on mild and the windows are permanently closed."

"What is kind and what is wild do not contradict each other."

". . . an Inuktitut word, nuannaarpoq, as 'taking extravagant pleasure in being alive."

"The keen urge has never left us to take a flitting tent and fling it under the stars, then swing on, on at dawn, on an elemental journey.  That is how to burn most brightly.  That is how to catch like wildfire."

"Nothing in nature is suburban.  Nothing wild is phlegmatic and complacent.  Nothing compares to the grotesque infantilism of the suburbs, sucking the dummy of the supermarket and every week squirting out the waste into giant plastic nappies, the bulging trash bags by the closed gate.  In the suburbs, the alertness of all wild creatures is degraded into neurotic curtain-twitching."

"Sensible habits and good road safety skills will keep you alive till eighty.  So what?  If you didn't know freedom, you never lived, never knew that thrilling whisper, turning blood to quicksilver, reflecting sheer fear and pleasure - to be most alive is to be most free is to be most wild."

"There is no compromise.  Freedom is not polite.  It doesn't knock or telephone first.  It slams its hand down on your desk and says Dance - as the mad fiddler, his fingers bleeding on the strings, plays an elegy at the speed of a reckless waltz till the sky breaks down in tears."

"In the wilds, we cannot be controlled or policed or pacified.  In the wilds is our political autonomy.  Cry Freedom in all the mountains that have ever heard the rebel yell and suburbia, malleable clay to fascism, can go to hell."

"Europeans have long been fond of claiming that a paradise from which mankind was expelled is a universal truth.  But . . . Heaven is under our feet, wrote Thoreau; paradise can be here and now - in fact now is the only possible time to ransack paradise and suck up its juices.  We are not exiled from the garden of Eden but living in it still.  Paradise is not in the past or future but only in the present, this Earth an untamed heaven, a wild paradise garden."

"Just at the point when you can no longer speak, sing.  Just at the point when you can no longer get out of bed, fly.  Pain can give you wings."

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