Rebellion Among the Wolves
By Corinne Brown
My written voice was the first voice I had confidence in. As a timid, shy child, my internal narrative as a little girl was, “Don’t talk.” Overt or covert, my existence was encouraged as long as I kept silent. Children, after all, were to be seen and not heard. Girls especially.
My writing was one of the first things I had ownership over.
Beginning back in elementary school, too young to even comprehend the rules of my family system, I started my rebellion. By 5th grade, I was writing short stories and developing characters. It was the summer in between 6th and 7th grade that I began writing novels. And, by the age of fifteen, I had accumulated hundreds of pages of stories, poems, and plot lines.
My written voice wasn’t too loud, or inappropriate. It didn’t enter the conversation at the wrong time, say too much, or shy away and say too little. On paper, I found, words could be redacted, paragraphs deleted, but rarely did this exclusion happen. If anything, mentors entered into my life to encourage this artistic voice.
Coaching. Editing. Giving my developing brain new ways to explain and create a world out of words.
Encouraging me forward, I was reminded:
Every word I wrote was needed.
Every character had a role.
Creativity was my rebellion.
Creativity is my rebellion.
The poems that were written at Alive and Well Women’s fall retreat, CREATE, moved me to remember the sweet intersection of nature’s wonderment and our creative energy. There have been many moments where the wilderness inspired my writing, and where the written words of others, inspired my wilderness.
Edward Abbey was one of the first with Ralph Waldo Emerson following shortly after. However, it was the words of James Kavanaugh in his book There are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves, that felt like I had found prose explicitly written for my interaction with wild spaces.
“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery, and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.
We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.
For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”
We are delighted to share the artistry of community members Staci Kennelly and Lisa Patriquin that was birthed at our fall retreat. We hope it will inspire you to take time in nature and see what your inner artist might want to give birth to. Our mediums, as a community, are vast and diverse. Our backgrounds and experiences shape each expression of our true nature, just like flora and fauna are shaped by their ecology.
In a world too comfortable with stagnation and fear, in a society where we are encouraged to forget our identity- your voice is needed in our wilderness. Your rebellion is necessary.
How do you tell your story of the wilderness? How do you live among the wolves?
By Staci Kennelly
I am surrounded
by the gentle breeze,
by the smell of sweet sage.
by the sway of the golden grass.
I am surrounded
embraced, but not captive,
held, but not bound,
possessed but not owned.
I am surrounded.
Enveloped by the gentle yielding of her lavish bosom,
breathing in the sweetness of her bountiful grace,
allowing my soul to bend and sway in her liberating love.
I am surrounded.
“While at the retreat, we had some time to be alone in the beautiful hills. As I sat there, taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds, I began to feel completely surrounded by our Holy Mother. The words came quickly as I tried to describe how loved and free I felt in that moment.”
By Lisa Patriquin
The finest filaments connect leaf to leaf
So fine that at first glance I only notice one
then pale almost invisible
until I notice more
To see them all would take hours.
The spider’s lifelines
Her very essence
so natural for her
such a miracle to me.
“The poem I wrote at Create was the first one in many years– and it came to me whole. No cross-outs or editing of any kind. That doesn’t happen often so I think the time we had spent together before we went out into nature must have cleared my mind of the usual impulse to question myself. A rare and precious thing, indeed.”
Photos courtesy of CREATE participant and community member, Staci Kennelly
Corinne is a free spirit with a passion for all things adventurous and empowering. Alive and Well Women’s Administrative Assistant always has a plan, or blog post, brewing in her mind. A classic Enneagram Type 7, when she isn’t writing or working on her Master’s degree, she is probably reorganizing her bedroom or whispering words of encouragement to her sweet, resilient houseplants.
“…I think the time we had spent together before we went out into nature must have cleared my mind of the usual impulse to question myself. A rare and precious thing, indeed.” -Lisa Patriquin
“…As I sat there, taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds, I began to feel completely surrounded by our Holy Mother. The words came quickly as I tried to describe how loved and free I felt in that moment.” – Staci Kennelly