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The Call of the Wild

“Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire and the beaten earth around it, and to plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew not where or why; nor did he wonder where or why, the call sounding imperiously, deep in the forest.”
― Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Finishing my first cup of coffee, I heard the distinctive honk of a skein of geese. Quickly removing myself from the comfort of the moment, I caught the geese circling back around the woods and turn towards a local pond. The rising sun caught them in flight, illuminating their bodies in the red light of dawn. They soon disappeared behind the roofline and the honks faded away as I walked back into the warmth of the nest.

We know deep down whether we were meant to be wild things or creatures of comfort. The world wants very much for us to seek comfort, to leave those crazy dreams well enough alone and celebrate the nest—to turn back towards the fire. Maybe a little part of us feels this too. So why are we so drawn to wild things? What is it that we seek?

I believe it’s vitality. Vitality bursts out of us, it isn’t buried in the mundane. It is not another cup of coffee to get through the hour, or a nightcap to wash away the day. To be fully alive we must step out of ourselves and be uncomfortable. Test limits and stretch to new places. To do otherwise is to avoid a full and vibrant life.

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” — Virginia Woolf

Will we be drawn to the Siren’s call to the rocks or to the call of the wild? One calls us to accept what always was until our end, the other calls us to fly. We ought to ask ourselves, is inertia comfort in disguise, and vitality masked by the judgement of imprudence? We are, each of us, on a hero’s journey, listening for our calling. What call will we turn towards?

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