Igniting the Wild Side

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten
Dog sees white. Arctic
light, the bright buzz in the brain
of pure crystal adrenaline. In a flash
he is out the door and across the street
looking for snowshoe hares, caribou, cats.
His wild ancestry ignited, Dog plunges
his nose into snow up to his eyes. He sees
his dreams. Master yells from the front porch
but Dog can’t hear him. Dog hears nothing
except the roar of the wind across the tundra, the ancient
existential cry of wolves, pure, devastating, hungry.
Time for crunchies. Taking many detours, Dog
returns to the porch. Let master think what he
wants. Freedom comes at a price.
~Paul Piper “Dog and Snow”
 Unlike many other parts of the country, we’ve had no snow this winter (yet).  We have been sadly deprived of that moment of  “YES!!” when awakening to that lighter glow through the curtains that suggests a snowy landscape, that blast of fresh chill when heading out the back door to step off the porch into all that clean whiteness, surrounded by pristine silence.   There is something about the complete transformation of the familiar that ignites and warms us back to the wild child inside each of us.
Ever-present mud, our current ubiquitous winter landscape, tends to have an opposite effect on the spirit.   It douses rather than ignites, weighs down rather than lightens up.  It squishes and soils and depresses.   “This too shall pass” I think, as I pull on my mud and muck boots, and then “this sucks” and force myself off the porch into the mire. It is the price to be paid for the freedom in the call of the wild:  into every life a little mud will cling.  Thankfully we are washable.
photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten


photo by Josh Scholten


snowy coyote



One thought on “Igniting the Wild Side

  1. Piper’s dramatic description of the ‘ancient existential cry…’ is thought provoking. Reminds me of Jack London’s writing about survival in the frozen wilderness. One has to wonder: just how deep is that existential cry buried within each of us and what does it take to manifest it openly????

    (My little love bug with the pointy ears and muddy paws looks alert and sassy.)


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