We Were Born Wild

We Were Born Wild June 10, 2015

“Mama, we were born wild animals.”

My son, full of pterodactyl screeches and dragon roars, sits quietly in the car on his ride to school. He’s telling his sisters about how mammals are wild animals, that humans are mammals, that in fact all of nature is wild.

It’s a deeply profound thought, if not entirely true. How domesticated we have become. How we domesticate everything we touch.

Chickens are not wild. Very little is wild about our yards. Cows? Not wild. Not anymore.


But instead of telling my son the ways in which his statement isn’t entirely true, I suck in the bitter tasting truth of my own domestication. I don’t feel wild. I feel soft and useless. Soft around the middle, from too much sugar and gluten and alcohol, from too much time spent in a car. Soft also from the truly primal act of growing and birthing babies, but that is starting to be a distant memory.

I feel weak from inactivity. I’m not hefting, heaving, or hiking. I’m gently stretching or pulling up the easy weeds, at most. I am sweating sitting still in the early summer heat. I’m clicking refresh on Facebook while I sip my second cup of tea. Rather than make magic, I talk about it, write about it, long to do it, but fall asleep before the moon has risen.

My tiger son, age 4.
My tiger son, age 4.

Worse, I am domesticating these feral beings of mine. It’s part of my job as a parent, I guess. Children need boundaries, like bedtimes, not only to feel secure, but to function at their best. We need some domestication. I like the eggs from chickens. I am grateful not to be outrunning my dinner or make every thing I own. I am grateful for the privilege of not having to go hungry on a regular basis. I like that humans can communicate with language and use manners, rather than the grunts and grabs that my son tries to convince me dragons use. But how much of my parenting is allowing their primal nature to thrive and how much of it is domesticating it, turning my half-dragon/half-human son into a flightless chicken?

I’ve never liked the dichotomy of wild vs inhabited in most nature discussions. There are wild patches in every city – where humans revel, where animals forage, where weeds break through concrete. And few places on this earth have been uninhabited and unshaped by humans.

So if there is no truly wild nor unwild state of being, is it instead a state of mind? I have no answers, other than to ask how I can free myself from the false constraints with which I bind myself? How can I say no to the distractions – in whatever form – and say yes to the wildness within and around me?

If this post needs some concrete bullet points, here are a few:

*I set limits on my screen time.

*I try to say yes to the kids more.

*I walk whenever possible.

*I accept that each day, each moment, is an opportunity to start again.

*I re-connect with the people and spirits I love, with offerings, with touch, with my focus.

*I try to just sit and just be and just listen.

*I drink a glass of water, reconnect my physical body to the elements, to the ground, to itself, and to all my Parts.

*I try to say yes to sex (this one is so fraught, as parents of young children will understand) and other rare opportunities to move my body and spirit.

*I go out and weed, maybe, but definitely talk with the plants and Other-than-human beings on my land.

How do you get in touch with your wildness?

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  • I forgot to add: I let the mess get out of hand. Another one parents of small children will understand!

  • Sasha M

    Your post has left me thinking about my cats – not so startlingly as i share my very un-wild space with non-human creatures. Stanley, my little tuxedo cat, is perfectly happy to stay inside. Though not a lap cat he is overwhelmed by even the rather tame Alaskan backyard and when allowed outside would come back after an hour or two. Leo, my orange tabby, would love nothing better than to live forever among the grass and trees. He’s stared down a moose, fought a feral cat, and brought in his fair share of small wildlife to die on my doorstep. Keeping him inside, as i do now (long story, I’m sure the eco system is much better for it), has been a challenge. I look at him and know that he could not survive by himself, but he is not happy being in. It’s like trying to make a hound dog a lap dog. We have bread the wild out so that only the choice elements remain – the ability to catch small vermin on a farm, and yet when our life style changes we expect our pets to follow suit, stay inside, be happy with fake birds and mice. It makes me sad really.

  • Ha – weeds, wildlife (including pocket gophers and bear), more weeds, trees growing in line of sight of the satellite where I get internet, the comfrey plant that just won’t grow where I want it to, the grass that grows in the walkway but refuses to grow in the bare spot in the lawn, dogs that shed all over the rugs but don’t seem to shed when they are outside, the losing battle against knapweed, the rabbit that I can’t keep away from my cabbage plants, the buck that tried to leap over the bed of my pickup trying to get a couple of does to say yes to sex, and did I mention weeds? If you want wild, I have plenty of wild! Wild obeys the second law of thermodynamics. We spend too much energy being domestic. No matter how hard we try, in the end entropy always wins!

    And the mess is always out of hand!