I had just finished picking a generous quart of wild blackberries, some of them as big as the end of my thumb. Blackberry seeds were stuck in my teeth where I had helped myself to some…they were just too delicious to wait for a pie. The Jack Russell was busy finding dragons in the bushes or trying to dig them out from under logs. I was tossing a big spinner half-way across the small lake, trolling it back slowly just off the bottom, down where the cold water and big trout lie. A bite feels more like a hang-up. The lure just stops. Then, when the hook is felt, the hang-up begins to move. Soon the rod-tip is shaking and bobbing as the fish fights not to come into the light. Dinner is on the end of the line.
It’s just 30 minutes from our apartment, but if I look in the right directions, I can see only the mountains, trees, waterlilies and the rippled surface of the lake. A Blue-winged Teal zips past and skids into the water at one end. A Great Blue Heron ponders by to the other end of the lake to do his fishing. A beaver head wedges a wake. I can imagine I’m a hundred miles from anywhere “civilized.”
“Civilized” comes from the Latin, “civitatis,” and the related “civitatem,” from which we get the word, “city.” It refers to the socio-political and economic systems we build and live in as human beings. Being in the “wild” is being somewhere where those systems don’t hold much sway. Mountains, trout, ducks, herons, beavers and this particular lake are not “civilized.”
The gods of the church are civilized, tamed and bent to serve the society that invents them. The Ground of All Being evades all attempts at domestication. At its roots, existence is wild, and so must the believer be.
Photo credit: Paul Moore