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  • Writer's pictureSarah Mason

Feral Destinations for a Woman with the Heart of Thoreau

He whispers in my ear and he asks me what I want. He says he wants to know but smells of a lie. He wants to know, but he wants to know my wants in the boxes of his expectations. He asks, but he wants a comfortable answer more than he wants reckless vulnerability and raw candor. My jaw is clenched and cracking, my smile is painted and wavering, and the inner dam holding back my wants could drown the world, rewrite the rules, and- just maybe- set me free.


What I want is to run through the forest, intent only on keeping my footing as I dodge roots and stones. I want to race, darting around trees and bushes. I want to be surrounded by nature on all sides, a wall of birch, maple, beech, and oak. I want to run so deep that the forest becomes my fortress from the world outside with the walls narrowing around me and branches slap my shoulders.

What I want is to stand in a midnight downpour as thunder rolls in the distance. I want to spread wide my arms and hands and fingers as I am drenched by the drops that pierce my body. I want to whoop loudly while I spin haphazardly around and around and around, flinging beads of water from the soggy tendrils, tendrils that slap my cheek when I finally cease, disoriented and wheezing. I want to be renewed, a baptism by Mother Nature, with my soul wiped clean. I want to feel as fresh and new as the sprouting blades of grass that wiggle between my toes.

What I want is to sit in a meadow while the sun beats down and cease to think, cease to worry, cease to fret, cease to mend what doesn’t want mending. I want to sit and watch the flowers bud, bloom, and shrivel in the warmth of the day. I want to study the flitting of bees and the scuttling of beetles and the romping of squirrels and the nibbling of rabbits. I want to be nature’s apprentice. Learn the language of a world that communicates without filter.

What I want is to watch as the sun peaks out from its slumber, shedding soft hues of pink and purple, slowing awakening to the chirp of busy birds. I want to soak in the devotions of the mourning dove crooning its hymn, asserting its faith in the promise of the rising day.

What I want is to stand at the ocean’s edge and let my feet, ankles, legs slowly sink beneath the sand swamping around me as the tide slaps at my calves.

What I want is to climb to the highest height in miles around and let out a resounding bellow and let it echo.

What I want is to reconnect with the earth around me. I want to find truth again. I want to find reason and purpose and goodness and life.

What I want is to go a bit feral.

I desire freedom from humans. Their clinging expectations and imposing needs pin me down, restrain me, as they smile at me, offering false promises and masked intentions. I am depleted from worry over them, from caring over them, from wanting good for them, good they don’t always want in return. I weary from their scrambling chaos, their pleading concerns, their brokenness that they offer to me to repair. They shrug at their brokenness, offer it to me, and wait for me to fix it. And I try… and it’s in the trying that I wane. I lose myself.

I try to help, try to fix, try to appease, try to defend, try to understand, try to connect. I push at them, pull at them, set them free, hope they come back. I toss and turn in the night, wondering was I enough for them, was I too much for them. I dream and the dreams turn to nightmares that I have failed them. I am hurt by them, forgotten by them, needed by them, pitied by them. They belittle me, glorify me, judge me, choose me, reject me. They put me on a pedestal I can’t live up to. They put me aside as a forgotten toy. They blame me, treasure me, need me, hurt me, love me. They set exhausting expectations on me. I attempt to fit into new boxes for them, square peg round hole, now round peg square hole. I morph, adapt, spiral, and lose myself.

I want a reset. I crave truth away from the foggy perspective of mankind. I want to return to that what is pure, untampered, untouched by man. To reject the responsibility to meet man’s expectations, to flee from mankind and the trappings of being a woman in this world. To reconnect with my one true self, where the only input is from the immortal, the eternal. To return to only following the beating of my heart without the chants and murmurs of others’ commentary. I long for a reset.

I will rid myself of conditional love, people who love me “if.” I will rid myself of checking boxes on someone else’s list. I will rid myself of feeling I must make myself small in this world. I will rid myself of the unspoken rules that try to dictate who I should be, what I should be, and even what I should feel. I will rid myself of the cage that keeps me from soaring.

I long to turn to the wilderness outside of civilization’s borders. There I will find my rehabilitation center. My neighbors and associates will be the wild creatures. My mailing address will simply be “unchartered territory.” My choices will be my own. My path will be one that does not yet exist, one I forge. My story will be one society has no power to rein in.

I want to go where, in my feral state, I will peel off the trappings of society. I will be liberated. I will discover what is genuine. I will find myself, meet the powerful woman freed from expectations and, therefore, limitations. I will greet the woman within. I will nourish her ideas and dreams and desires, and, when she is strong, when she transcends the woman society constructed, I will let her loose on mankind. She will rise, empowered. With her relentless strength, her limitless potential, her unconditional truth, she will excel, emancipated.


I want. This is what I want. This is what I want to say. But I bite down, my jaw holds firm, holding the dam. For one more day, I smile and oblige expectations, all while I gaze out the window, bidding my time, awaiting my moment for when my time comes. Then, I will no longer want. I will run unfettered.


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