A friend, newly divorced, recently described his state as “feral”.
I, ladies and gentlemen, am feral. I once was as domesticated as one can be but I’ve been out in the wild for a number of years now and I’m a savage beast.
Like an escaped house-cat long on it’s own, I have vague memories of food appearing without me hunting it, warmth in the winter, cool in the summer, comfort. At first it was terrifying here in the wilderness, but over time, I’ve come to like night prowling, fighting for territory, yowling at the moon.
I’ve grown tattered but I’ve also turned scrappy. I make the most of the sustenance I find. I care for my young in whatever way I can. I protect them fiercely but they, too, are scrappy. They’ve had to be.
And while I often fondly remember the warm house I once slept in, I’m afraid to go back. That particular house is gone but if offered another indoor opportunity, I have trouble imagining taking it. Because once you’re inside, they might not let you back out. Even for an evening.
And so I roam. I hunt. I howl. I gather scars, there’s not an ounce of fat on me (metaphorically speaking). But I am deeply, unquestionably alive. I gaze at that fat, fluffy cat sleeping in the window and I’m baffled. Sure, a nap in luxury would be nice, but don’t you want to smell the jasmine on the night air, saunter alone through the dark woodland, pounce, claw, leap?
It may very well be that I allow myself to be tamed again one day. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be tempted inside by the soft contours of a quilt-laden couch, a bowl of warm milk. I’ll entertain human touch. I don’t think, however, with all these years outside, I’ll ever be that staid creature I once was. I’ll always be a little wily, a little skittish, a little hard to pin down, firmly aware that I might land in the cold again.
There’s a Rumi quote I painted on old wood. It hung by my bed in those early post-split days. It reads:
Live where you fear to
Destroy your reputation
Check, check, check and check.
If on a moonlit night, you hear a yowl echoing through the silence and you wonder if it’s a cry of pain or pleasure, don’t worry, it’s just me. And it’s both.