If only I had the words. Sadly I do not. I’m not a writer nor a poet. Just a man in an age without men. An age without reason, justice or purpose. [Image]
The sun was bright but the west wind that blew all summer was strong. The neighbours had gone – their weekends evaporated like so many others. Short respites of joy and freedom. Temporary retreats from the pains of daily living. The lucky ones who could escape. They knew it. They knew they were lucky but did not know why exactly. How could they?
They looked at me and could not understand me. A puzzle, a riddle, a man with his own opinions that were not like theirs. Depending on their perspective I was put into one box or another. He’s this, he’s that, all the while knowing it’s not true. They put me in the box but did’t want to do it. They didn`t want to cage me any more than they wanted to cage the wild bears passing through every day. I love them for that. They couldn`t know me or understand me but could understand that I was here and living free without constraint or control. Beyond their understanding. In a world that did not allow it.
I am both hated and loved for it. Some think I am rich (and how could they not think it after I spent so many months here alone in the wilderness), but they look at my small shabby little boat and wonder… they ask to themselves the only question that really matters… Why? I would tell them if they asked but they don’t and they never will because they have that little thing no one wants to admit they have – fear. Fear of both the question and the answer. The dominant theme of our time.
I walked down to the dock at high tide. I took off my clothes and jumped into the ocean. A moment of pure joy. I climbed out after the shock of the cold water, toweled off to spare myself the chill of the west wind. Wrapped in that towel, the sun shining down upon my naked body, I felt a love of life and the world I haven`t felt for a very, very long time. I walked naked the 50 metres back to my cabin, tied my fishing line, then walked back to the dock. A few casts determined this was not the time. I sat down on the dock with the sun my only shield. I felt a love I had never felt before. Raw and naked. Beautiful.
I am alive.
Alive in a way I`ve never been alive before. Now, at this moment, I am alive, I said to myself in wonder and amazement. All the raging violent seas I`d survived to be here, all the hours of chainsaws, all the hours of reckless action, and I`m still here to see this. What a wonderful thing. A blanket of sun-rays to warm me.
Not long after that moment of rediscovery, I decided (always the practical man) to bring some wood down from the top of the property to split, stack, and leave to age for next year. During that effort, done a hundred times before, I fell and hurt my back. A small slip and a crash upon the rocks on the trail. At the time I thought little of it – just another bruise I could endure like so many others scrapes and cuts before it. Just another scar to add to my collection. More blood sacrifice to be free for a little while longer.
At 3 am I woke up screaming in agony. Every move, every breath a stabbing pain. I screamed in agony and did not care if anyone heard my cries. I knew my cries would be heard for miles if anyone was listening but I did not care. I screamed again, again and again – pain and screams without end – the loudest screams I had ever heard. I screamed the cry of pain to release it, because if I didn`t release it, I felt it would kill me. I screamed and screamed – every stab of the knife required an answer and I screamed in pain, anger and rage for hour upon hour until the pain subsided. I took pills – lots of pills with some effect – enough to dull the pain and stop the screams. I didn’t want to but had no choice.
I woke again to the screams the next morning. I didn’t want to scream that morning. You see a young couple with two small children is renting the house next door for the month and came in last night. I didn’t want them to be frightened. I wanted to shield and protect them. But I could not. The pain was more than I could take. I muffled the screams into groans and yelps and cried instead of screaming to shield them and hoped they were still asleep. Thankfully they were.
The propane tank ran dry that morning after 4 months. The pain was too great, I couldn’t change it and I was too proud and foolish to ask the neighbor to do it for me. I changed it in the afternoon after the muscles relaxed a little and felt more pride that you can imagine. A 5 minute job that took about 30 minutes and resulted in the best cup of coffee I ever brewed.
I’m not sure why I’m telling the second part of the story. It would have been better ended with only the love of the world and without all the screaming. I tell it mostly because it’s true and real and you all deserve at least that much. You, the greatest friends I’ve ever known, deserve at least that. The truth and nothing less.
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
– Shakespeare from Macbeth
Does the extreme love and the excruciating pain I felt make me more or less of a man? Why am I crying as I write this? What would you think of me if you had heard those screams or seen my crying? I, of all men, who have braved greater physical danger than most so called men could even imagine and survived… dare I ask…. dare I do all that may become a man…
My answer is yes. I can and I will. You may kill me but I will stand against all the destroyers and haters of life and freedom, be they bankers, so called government officials, or corporations, regardless of the outcome. I will speak the truth regardless of the cost.
I stand against you because I love this world more than you know. I will never say it aloud. I can’t. I can’t and I won’t say it. If you ask me about this article in person I will call it the rantings of a sentimental fool. But it will be true nonetheless. I just wanted to say it before I leave this world. Just in case I fall again and hit my head, or am killed by a bear or cougar, and die in silence or anguish upon these beautiful hills.
My first, last and only love letter to the world – to my friends – and to all the men and women of love and reason.