The wilderness within

The Wilderness Within (Part 4: South)

Ahhh sweet, wild, primal South!
You make me feel,
or maybe just…because of you
I can truly feel.

My South walk consisted of me playing aerialist on the rope swing that was on the hill behind the cabin. I wanted to get a taste of the rope swing at some point, and it just perfectly worked out that it was this walk.


Is this swing even safe? Many people probably have used it before… Did a certified arborist check it out? Does the branch look sturdy? If I fall, will I hurt myself? What if I fall when I’m out THIS far…will I die if I land upside down?

Was this fragmented North trying to protect me? Or whole North? Aww, thanks, bud! I’m going to play anyway. I’m used to swinging on hanging things. I feel supported by my own physical strength and body awareness. But would the tree say the same?

I tested out the answer to all those questions by swinging on the swing. I started slow. I felt in my body. I felt the bounciness of the rope. I started picking up speed. I’d walk-jump to the other side. How does it feel? How do I feel? THIS FEELS LIKE I WANNA GO ALL OUT! Alrighty, South, hold on a sec. Let’s work our way up to that, said Whole North.

It wasn’t long before I became more comfortable in my body. I experimented with different types of twists while swinging from one side of the tree to the other. I could twist in either direction before landing (not on the same swing though…there were just options on how I wanted to get to the other side). Sometimes I’d jump so far away from the tree that I was able to lean backward and look at the world from upside down. This was the perfect chance for the inner dialogue to say “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! DO YOU SEE THE GROUND UNDERNEATH YOU? DO YOU WANT YOUR HEAD TO LAND THERE?!?!?!” Dear Inner Critic, I DGAF at the moment and want to continue having fun. I loved swinging back and forth on there. Towards the end, I was able to do two spins before landing on the other side. Though, I did kindly/gently smash into the trunk of the tree during the experimentation phase.

It was a dance to be swinging back and forth on the tree. In a way, I felt like the tree and I were dancing together. At times there was even music! Yes, real music. Someone was playing the flute at the bottom of the hill. The wind carried most of the music to me and I acted it out in girl-on-rope-swing form.

I struggle with expressing all emotions and feelings (if they are even the same?). Ever since November 2015 (when my friend was in the hospital for a perceived suicide attempt), I have been trying to be conscious about being open and honest when people ask me about how I am doing. Most of the time “Good” is not a completely accurate way to describe the rich inner world and experience of life. Who wants to hear a novel when they might have just been asking a generic question? (Why should I care…)

South has taught or reminded me to be a raw, expressive self.



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