Ruff, ruff, grrr …
Insidious, relentless …
Loud enough to wake me.
But there is no sound outside.
The barking is in my own head!
I think …
The real barking has woken us both a few times recently … our neighbour’s house dog, late at night in their back garden, opposite our bedroom window … snapping us from our deepest slumbers before being let back in.
Quiet, polite folk, our neighbours, and we don’t want to make an issue of it.
But has it come to this … brain on howl alert, nods off, and starts his own yapping … just to break the tension?
I float off into a lighter, darker sleep …
More of a trance, where I am both dreaming and thinking.
The barking starts again … it’s more of a howl now … and I can even “see” a thick-maned wolf on his haunches, tilting his head back and baying.
A lone, noble wolf.
And like this beast who lopes through the wilderness, alone and intent, brain is on his own journey. Through his own wilderness.
A journey of association and connection …
Delving deeper and deeper …
Roaming a land so familiar and so obscure, the forests and valleys of deepest imagination, and the pathways through them as diverting as they are revealing.
On the scent of something … what?
Tossing fitfully … the tendrils and brambles of imminent consciousness will soon cover over these tracks again if waking mind does not allow a moment of reflection.
Usually, what I am left with is a few rapidly disappearing glimpses from the full show, and which I decipher as best I can before their total disintegration.
Like an old newsreel going up in flames.
I think of B, the young guy where I work who is heading off to Mexico.
A lone wolf … unfettered, his itinerary only lightly sketched out.
If even that.
Eyes alight with the not-knowing.
The best part …
Thinking I could not even fantasise about doing something like that.
But hey, I did head off in my early 20s … on my own unscheduled odyssey.
Working a desk job at the time … dull work but untaxing, great people, football at lunchtime, poker on Friday … drinking, fun …
Then one Sunday, I’m in the family home and doing the dishes with my older brother — he’s washing, I’m drying …
He’s a school teacher and is going off to the Netherlands for the summer … wants to earn enough money to change up his car.
He’ll be staying on a campsite just out of town … going to work with an uitzendbureau … a work agency that fixes you up with casual factory work shifts …
“I’m going too.”
That was me said that!
News to myself as much as my brother.
I worked out my notice at work and joined him.
No trepidation … bring it on!
My brother worked for the summer, made his money and went home.
I stayed on …
Spent a year and a half there, two spells, moved on to France for a summer, back up for the winter …
Stayed away for over three years.
Wouldn’t do it now.
But I’m thinking of that unfettered time … no mortgage, kids … nothing to anchor me to where I was.
But this is on the surface.
Below that, I’m reflecting on how I wasn’t suited to the travelling life.
Not comfortable with many people, until I got to know them.
Too choosy to really welcome the random encounters the proper voyager thrives on.
That dweller on the threshold of infinite possibility and direction.
Thought it was my fault. And it was, but I didn’t know enough about myself yet to be okay with who I was, and how I was.
Not extroverted enough to take people as they were,
Too desirous of like-minded people. People I was comfortable with.
A lone wolf who thought he was more gregarious than he was.
Shaped by his surroundings more than their shaper.
Primarily an introvert, who needed order and choice to be comfortable.
I didn’t know that at the time, but eventually, I realised I was not okay with being buffeted by circumstance and happenstance.
I had to come back to Ireland to find a decent career to anchor me, and allow me to shape things in some way.
And that’s how it worked out.
I know me better now, and am comfortable enough.
But a part of me is still restless, the lone wolf still prowling those hills and valleys of the what might have been had I embraced things differently.
And fearing my unaccomplished deeds and dreams have infected my offspring.
Especially my daughter.
She who dreams and paints and writes … but is reluctant to push herself into shaping her own possibilities.
Waiting for things to happen.
Wants us to do something, but thwarts our efforts when we do.
Wanting to be discovered or kick-started.
Like I waited.
Still do, in a way.
I know she is not me, and must find her own path.
But I do wish this beautiful she-wolf roaming and restless, will find her own place.
Her own pack.
- Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, try another one! Follow my blog and you won’t miss out again.