I spent all morning before work filtering through my old writings — the Livejournal I used to update daily, the old WordPress.com blog that quickly grew stale, and the few Tumblr posts that were actually personal to me — to find something to post here. I’m starting to feel a bit of blogger fatigue. Life has been so busy that I simply didn’t have time to write something new. Any motivation from bloggers who’ve experienced something similar would be greatly appreciated!
However, I did find something worth sharing in the end: my eerie college application essay. I remember how much time I spent on this, and I actually received handwritten feedback on it from the school I ultimately decided to attend: Wheaton College. Please note that I had a bit of a Stephen King obsession at the time.
Without further ado, read this story about wolves, woods, and worry.
Visits to Putnam, Connecticut, were generally boring and frustrating. Family outings concluded with exasperated sighs and rolling eyes. In an effort to maintain peace (and sanity), I distanced myself from my family’s conflicts. I brought sneakers.
Once my laces were tied, I jumped up and interrupted whatever ensuing argument to yell, “I’m going outside!” Red, green, and yellow leaves crunched beneath my Nike sneakers as I forged a path through the expansive woods behind my Nonnie’s house. To me, at age thirteen, the woods were a rainforest, and in that ambiance I could be anything: a bear, a lion, even a mouse. Jumping from rock to rock, across rivers and over hills, I conquered lands, somersaulted into treehouses, and navigated through the pine tree wilderness. Here was a place where I could be myself. Here I didn’t have to speak up for my Nonnie’s hearing aid. I didn’t have to feel coddled as the only child. Here I was home.
On one Thanksgiving evening, after filching a piece of bread for “supplies” and yelling “Bye” to my family, I forged into the forest once again. But this time, I was on a mission: find a tree, cut it down (with what, I didn’t know), and bring it home. As Christmas neared, I realized that the artificial tree we assembled every year was not enough. I wanted something more, something real. Through the pine tree forest I trekked, checking every tree. When I found the perfect tree, I wrapped my arms around it and pulled and pulled with all my might – and then, suddenly, I stopped.
A small trail of blood trickled toward my Nikes, staining the red, green, and yellow leaves in its path. My wide eyes followed the blood to its source: a gray wolf. He lay there peacefully, but I knew he was dead. As I inched closer, I watched as the color red oozed from the small hole puncturing his neck. Around his belly were small pools of blood, flies in a fervor over food, flapping their wings against the liquid. For five minutes, I stood motionless.
Finally, I turned away, and headed back to the ranch. I stumbled through the door, my eyes glazed over. “How was your adventure?” Nonnie asked. “Fine,” I said, or maybe I said “Fun;” I couldn’t hear myself speak. I could only hear the silence that preempted all other sounds. Later, I thought about holding a ceremony for the wolf, but instead I chose to remain silently solemn.
Seeing that dead wolf so naked, so bare, I realized the true definition of mortality. Killed by man, the wolf’s purity as a creature on Earth was tainted. The stark, bleeding wolf made life’s blunt secret clear to me: I too would die. I can’t pretend that I won’t die a humiliating death, or that I will make the best of my life. There will be disappointments, and I will have regrets. I can’t promise that I will make a difference in the world. I can promise that, despite any troubles, I will try. Through life’s rainforest I will trudge, conquering and pilfering. And if I face opposition, or scary dead wolves, I will stay calm, and I will turn away. And maybe at least I can make my life worthwhile to me, as I hope that wolf’s life was worthwhile to him.