I believe there is a part of us all that craves the hunt: the thud of our own heartbeat in our ears; the twist of our breath in the pre-dawn darkness; the union of our racing pulse to the Earth’s, which we could not hope to outrun.
Even when we suppress it, deny it and dress it up in fine garments, a piece of our souls survives—digs its fangs into the flesh of our lives—that knows the language of bears and trees.
We grow older, and yet the name of Artemis stirs a passion we still carry. Nature embodied finds her reflection in our gaze, and we, we find that the enchanting ferocity—the mad beauty—of this world is ours.
Or rather, we remember that we belong to it. Artemis—Nature embodied; the hunt; the earth against our skin; the language of trees on our lips—is in all of us.
Though we evolve and advance, and move our shelters farther and farther from the soil’s embrace, that piece of us, unrepentantly mired in dirt, clings to what is sacred: The dirt under our finger nails. Our attachment to the creatures we call pets. Our fascination with the myths of old and our compulsion to keep telling them. All of it alludes to a primordial wisdom forgotten but not lost.
The sibilant murmur of the wind in the treetops binds us to the hind and the bear, though we are wary of them, and they of us. It breathes a reminder to the Artemis in all of us. She is still vital. We still need her to thrive.
If you love to dig your toes into the rich damp of the forest floor, this is for you.
If you play hopscotch in daggers of moonlight, this is for you.
If you ride bareback on wild things and forget where they end and you begin, then I offer these words to the goddess within you.
There is a little bit of Artemis in all of us. There is something of our ancestors’ wildness that still remains. There is a call to hunt, to run, to speak in the language of footsteps and cypress-scented winds. We answer in our dreams, and we remember.
We may forget her name, but its syllables live in the tree bark of our memories, and her legacy flows in the trembling river of our existence.
This is for her.
For the Quietly Wild Ones.
Author: Toby Israel
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Paula Barkmeier
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