I began documenting my son Ryder in his beloved wolf suit at the time that my husband and I decided upon a divorce. The documentation has taken place over the course of a year throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California. In a time of healing, deep pain and confusion in his childhood, this important time spent with my son was priceless. I was able to document our growth through such a big change in a whole new way, while also exploring what it truly is to be wild. When my son had his wolf suit on and was left to explore the natural world around him, we were the most at peace.
The boulders and chains of societal expectations of how we must behave or feel were released and comfort was found in the simple magic that nature provided for us. Priorities in life shifted and we became increasingly grateful for the things we had instead of carrying the pressure of wanting more, doing more. Throughout my observation, I continuously asked myself, “What is truly wild?” Is it the natural instinct of a young boy with a stick and a rock in his palm deep in the woods? Or is it in fact the lined freeways and skyscrapers and the daily clocking in and out to follow the invisible rules of what is expected of us? Although seasons and weather changed and fluctuated, it was the quiet solitude among the trees and waves that offered the most comfort and made us feel more whole. I was forced to ask myself in a time of crisis, how I wanted us to live, how I wanted us to change.
As we would return from our escapes back into the hustle and bustle of tall buildings and poured concrete, to blaring horns and the clicking of heels that carried expensive handbags, we watched the stark contrast of people and how they interacted. We watched the superficial competitions and efforts to build things taller and bigger, to leave one’s mark on the world and to find fulfillment. Yet I was finally able to identify the ironic emptiness that may leave one. I learned that to leave a mark, it is in the connections we create with others. We still need each other, but we must find a balance and we must recognize all the gifts and opportunity that the world has already presented us with.
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