People will most likely say that I am mad, and perhaps I am. Though if I am mad, the madness has certainly aided my escape from another sort of affliction.
In retrospect, I had been suffering from the malaise for some time, a quiet sort of illness that grew incrementally; over how long, I cannot say. Years, perhaps. I cannot say that I suffered, for the truth is, it freed me.
By all the standards of modern society I led a successful life: a good job, a large apartment, plenty of luck with women. Having a bit of spending money was never an issue. I went to work, indulged my extracurricular pursuits, and slept comfortably at night, unconcerned about what the future might hold.
And yet there came a point – exactly when, I do not know – when all of this simply failed to be enough. As I said, it was a slow process, so slow that it would not be recognized to be seen. Day by day, step by step, my routine became rote, dull, uninspiring. My job grew boring, as did the act of spending the money I earned through it. Nights were increasingly spent listlessly tossing about in my once-comfortable bed. Even the pleasures afforded by the female flesh began to diminish. There was a growing yearning in my muscles to to run, to hunt, to fill my lungs with the air of uninhabited places. The trappings of society were no longer enough; there was a wilding in me, as slow to rise as a slumbering bear, but just as intractable.
It was in the city park that I finally became aware of my condition. There was nothing remarkable about the day whatsoever, the weather benign, the park busy with picnicking families, strolling lovers, joggers, and the various other types one expects. I stood near the edge of the pond, my bare feet planted firmly in the cool viridian expanse of grass, doing nothing of interest. It was the most direct connection with nature I’d had in years. It was enough.
I looked up at the ubiquitous concrete high-rises lining the park’s perimeter, and for the first time truly saw them. Not as monuments to human tenacity, but as tombs, massive graveyards waiting for the thousands upon thousands of dead souls in the city to stop moving and occupy them. I saw them, and knew that I would not, could not, stand to be among them any longer.
I did not return to my apartment. I did not call my job. Instead I simply drove, as far outside of the city as my car would take me, away from the roads and sign posts, and when it ran out of gas I walked even further, until I reached the edge of a thick wood. Here I stripped myself of everything I carried, leaving my clothing, shoes, and wallet in a heap. Perhaps they remain there. I have never returned to check. Would a prisoner return to visit the shackles which once bound him?
I stepped into the woods, never once looking behind me.
Look for me if you wish, but I doubt you’ll find me. Where instinct leads, I roam. I wear the skins of what animals I kill for prey and take my remaining nourishment from the forest’s bounty. I bathe in the rain and sleep in the hollows of trees, more comfortably than I ever did in that wide, soft bed. These are easy things to do when one surrenders thought in favor of instinct.
Perhaps you’ve felt it too. If so, come. Run free and wild.
I’ll be waiting.