8.01.2007,9:21 PM
Wolf Moon
Rear legs rhythmically pump and push, front legs spring forward reaching to meet the ground in synchrony. Nostrils wide and mouth gaping, gulping air and expelling hot breath over lolling tongue. Branches and grass slap my face and pull at me as I leap by; my head ducks and eyes squint to avoid scratches and punctures. My entire inner body is coursing and pumping to feed muscles with blood and energy, lungs expanding and contracting to extract oxygen from the air and my ears are full with the roaring of my blood and heart. All I see are flashes of green, brown, gray and black. There are no shapes, there is no white; only shades of shades. And they rush by me, touching me, grabbing me as I run. Grabbing at the skin under my fur and piercing the pads of my feet.

I am running; I am wild. I am alive and free.

As a youngster I had an infrequent wild dream, nearly the same every time. Sometimes they coincided with a full moon. The dreams are fewer as an adult, sometimes absent for many years. But occasionally it still visits me in my sleep. And I wake covered with sweat, exhausted and exhilarated as if from a monumental orgasm.

In that unconscious reality of dream, I am a wolf -running free and wild under a full moon, until I can run no more.

One recent night in this reality, the full moon lit my way on the road. Hovering big in the night sky like a pregnant water balloon floating on the horizon. It teases me, plays hide-and-seek with trees and hills as I ride up and down the dark ribbon of tarmac. The bike and I are drawn like a magnet, our roads and turns always toward it but never are we any closer. Our shadow rides on one side, the moon on the other and shadows from the trees caress the road like black liquid fingers.

A moonlit night is a world caught between daylight and impenetrable darkness, a juxtaposition of reflected sunlight by the planetary rotating mass above. Unlike harsh and direct sunlight, illumination from the moon is subtle and soft like a down comforter. Creatures under its glow co-mingle with their opposites: the nocturnal and the diurnal. Sheep graze instead of sleep, rabbits run from owls and hawks, plants turn their tips towards the nurturing glow. Rarely is nightlife still under a full moon; it is carte blanche permission for all to be wild.

Myths, legends and mysteries are the full moon's secret pleasure. Although some studies have revealed correlations of lunar effects with animal activities, thus far scientists fail to find a convincing causation between lunar phases and human behaviour. Yet.........because we humans are so removed from life in the wild, can we know how it transcends pure light and darkness?

Before the invention of artificial light we, too, were more active under a full moon as hunters or the hunted. Now we live by the flick of a switch, safe in our enclosing cocoons. However, for some of us remnants of that wildness remains. We may be restless, unable to sleep, moody, some women even menstruate with lunar cycles. Others avoid stepping out into a full moon night with an visceral apprehension they can't explain.

Over the decades I've gone for rides under a full moon. No destination in mind, just for the ride: previously in the truck, but now on the bike. And I am that wolf running in my dreams.

I went for a full moon ride to the place I often go. Riding up on the hill I slowed to a stop, shifted into neutral and set the bike on the side stand. Shortly after shutting off the engine, the night noises resumed their reverie. The silent gap was immediately replaced by chirping, clicking and whistling insects. Bullfrogs bellowed in the pond below and an occasional mosquito buzzed looking for skin to pierce.

My reverie gazing at the twinkling city lights and farmhouses below was interrupted by coyote yips and barks closeby.
A solo announcement was followed by a chorus of pack members, a sing-song of canine laughter, ranting and name-calling. Then a lone howl off to the left, distant to the main pack. A lonely lament to the night, to all the other creatures that dared to be wild. A statement for nothing but to satisfy that urge surging forth and seeking an escape. A cry for no one.

I smiled knowingly and nodded my head, whispering into the darkness, "I understand, my brother."

The yapping and howling dwindled as they moved on. I put on my helmet, zipped up my jacket, and donned the gloves. Twisting the key and pressing the button, the bike purred with a subtle growl. Moving past the shapes and shades in the night, I rode back out on the tarmac and twisted the throttle open, running on my own two wheels into the night and the light of the moon. Wild and free. I ride.

"If it's wild to your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it, whether it's a mountain range, your wife, your husband, or even (heaven forbid) your job. It doesn't matter if it's wild to anyone else if it's what makes your heart sing. If it's what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summer time, then focus on it. Because for sure, it's wild, and if it's wild, it'll mean you're still free. No matter where you are."
- Rick Bass, Wild to the Heart

posted by Macrobe
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