"We need the tonic of wildness. We can never have enough of nature." -Thoreau
What is it with me and men on mowers? No, they don't excite me like some modern day version of cowboys on horses. They incite me. Earlier this week while driving down the interstate, I noticed two men on mowers. Well one was on a mower and the other watched as man #1 mowed a swath of tall, swaying grass, grass formerly known as goldenrod, now arrayed in Fall's muted tans, browns and rusts.
I reminded myself that the man mowing has a job as does the watcher. That each of them will be able to feed and clothe their families because my tax dollars support this.
It is not my job to judge. Being outside on a mower may be their tonic as Thoreau referenced, but can't we come up with something other for men to do than chop down wild and growing things?
This pushes my buttons similar to people who mow weekly in summer not because their yard needs it but because it's part of some task list encoded in our cultural DNA from decades past when advertisers told us we needed well groomed yards (groomed of course by their mowers).
This summer I felt such tension as neighbors mowed dirt. Dust clouds swirled around them as they rode the range that is their yard and I kept my mouth shut.
Both instances push my buttons because I love wildness. There's a freedom in the energy of wildness that ironically, here in the "Land of the Free" we try to squash, contain and control.
How is it that we tame wildness whether it's in our yards or in children? Our educational system is considered successful if we turn unruly (spirited) children into good (well-behaved) ones.
Wildness is where inspiration, creativity and spirit lie yet we relegate it to Animal Planet or a stuffed head on a wall, to reality shows where folks compete to survive in the 'wild' or videos of coeds at the beach on Spring Break known as girls gone wild.
I'm reminded of learning in France that the grand cathedrals were usually built over natural springs, springs where people worshiped Spirit as the Goddess in nature. Thus began the containing of the wild as the patriarchy separated people from nature. The church got its money as the people were controlled and yes often educated intellectually by the church, learning to read and write, but disconnected from the education that comes from nature and being in our bodies and not just in our minds. The energy of wildness did not die.
For now what I know in the wild ramblings of my mind is men on mowers mirror the part of me, my own energetic wildness, that I sensed was chopped down in childhood. Men on mowers remind me of how in turn even now I control wildness in myself when I forgo coloring a strand of hair fuchsia or turquoise out of concern for what others will think.
Yet I also recall times when imbibing of the tonic in nature or oddly while shopping awakens my insides, stirring that energy of old. Memories of the tonic of wildness make me smile as I recall rolling down a grassy slope not that long ago, dancing to my favorite band not caring what others think or buying not one but two halter tops for my fifty year old body or just this Fall laying in the bottom of the Grand Canyon naked in the Colorado River.
I don't know about you, but I need, I want, I desire the tonic of wildness to help me remember who I fully am. I want to drink daily from the tonic of wildness to keep the energy flowing in the Land of the Free that is inside of Me!
Imagine the Shift if you did one wild thing today. What would it be?
-Dawn! The Good News Muse 12 November 2010