Into the Wild

I know a woman who labels everything. It causes me to smile sometimes and cringe at others, especially when she confers cutesy monikers upon wild creatures. It seems insensitive to me, to somehow expect the dwindling nonhuman free spirits of the world to be shackled with such foolishness as a human name.

In Riverwalking, author Kathleen Dean Moore speaks to how naming things, whether in nature or otherwise, somehow makes them real to us. I guess I understand this: bird. Lion. Chameleon. Yes. But Tobey the panther or Gertrude the python seem like cages or justifications to categorize and file the awesome and mysterious into alien environments where we condition them to depend upon us for sustenance so we don’t have to confront our fear of the feral. It reminds me of what society used to do to those too sensitive to live in a world unprepared for their visions and reactions to toxic surroundings: brick and mortar; drugs and electroshock meant to restrict ranging minds in a culture unfit for their consumption.

I’m sure there are those who will disagree, but it is to freedom that I owe my creativity, my sanity, and ultimately inner peace. Liberty from labels and expectations and managers and crowds. Classify me if you will, though kindly do so in private. I’m too advanced in age to allow restriction of my thoughts and emotions by any means, any longer. It is why I empathize so acutely with those who have no voice in the matter.

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