Wolf child

Fruits of the forest © Laetitia Mantis

Originally  the term wolf child relates to a child who has lived isolated from any human contact from a very young age. These feral children are known to often lack basic social skills and an interest in the human activities around them. We find quite a few examples in history for wolf children.

Although I did not grow up amongst forest animals, this is exactly  the way I feel about modern society most of the time. My interest in common passtimes and “normal” subjects of interest is quite limited. Art and music – yes, I can relate to that, but the roots of these go back much further than anything you would call civilisation.

Some people might even say I indeed lack social skills. Of course, if you want to talk about your huge flat screen television, your new designer boots or getting your nails done, you bore the wolf child in me to death and I might misbehave and feed your impression of lacking any social skills. And I rarely feel sorry for it.

Well, I grew up in the modern world like you. I know how to use a computer and a smartphone, obviously. I do have profiles on social media sites to promote my art. I do not demonize everything modern. I have learned to put a few of these things to my use, for as long as they are useful. But the brainwashing attempts of the modern “bread and games education” didn’t really succeed with me. I am very aware of the fact that some things might be temporary and gone some day – and for most of them I will not shed a tear. There are also things in the modern world that I avoid completely, like any kind of video gaming. From gameboy to playstation or computer games, I do know that these things exist, but I never spent a minute of my life with it. These kind of passtimes create nothing from my point of view, and creation is one of the things I care about most. People often tell me that they “reset their brain” with passtimes like television and gaming, after a long hard workday, which they probably do indeed, but not the way they intend to, but following the intentions of the ones who are developing  these “games”. When I want to “reset my brain”, I connect with the elements of nature. I get lost in a forest or stare at a fire.

Although this wolf child loves solitude, I care about friendships. Social media has ruined the term, you can be “friends” with anyone anywhere. But there is a positive aspect as well, some true friends would have never met if it wasn’t a social media contact that started the spark for a real connection.

I also care about knowledge, but it must be practicable. There are many people who have read far more books than I did, but reading and practise are not the same. Theoretical knowledge can even hinder you sometimes. There are a lot of books about gardening for instance, and it is a good idea to keep some of those in your household if you maintain a garden. But I do not treat them like the ultimate wisdom. If you do your gardening strictly after a calender that is handed to you, you will find yourself much less successful than someone who observes his environment and the holy elements – and does gardening according to it.

Speaking of knowledge, in the times of internet it seems that there is information about everything. Google and the likes have become all-knowing garbage dumps. And for every “fact” there are tons of “alternative facts”. You can spend a lifetime reading about conspiracy theories, but what can you gain from it? A feeling of superiority because you “woke up”? Fear, because you know, “they” are after you? The realisation, that slavery never ended but got more subtle? Will you sleep better, after sucking on the big tit of information? Truth and reality will never be the same, but reality can bite your ass anytime, totally oblivious to the nobility of truth.

I care  about freedom. But not in an anarchistic way. Every smallest tribe has its rules. And when you decide to run in a pack, you run in a pack. Although enjoying life is a huge part of keeping mental health, some things have to be done, no matter how you feel about them. Freedom is not about doing nothing or being lazy. But of course, the label of laziness will always stick to the artists and philosophers.

Something that is for sure an important part of my personal freedom, is the lack of need for many things the modern world has to offer. Because all of these things come with a prize that can quickly reduce your freedom. Quite often I hear words like “you have to buy this or that thing, you absolutely need this in your household!” Instead of explaining myself, I smile, because I know I don’t have to play the consumer game if I don’t want to. I don’t need shopping sprees for my happiness. I don’t need dozens of dresses or shoes. I rather pick up rocks and little things from the forest and worship them.

My personal bubble of civilisation bursted long ago. And once the lights will go out everywhere else, I will keep the fire burning and hope for other wolf children to do the same.

Good-bye suburbia

For the last one and a half years I have lived on the edge of a small town in Saxony. It has been a total contrast to my former hide-out in the Thuringian forest. This area was once a small village that has been incorporated into the town. On one hand the environment here is still very rural and you can hear the voices of cows, sheep and the occasional rooster. There is also a lovely old part of the village, with the typical old farm houses. On the other hand people really try to make it feel like a true suburbia. In some streets there are more conifers in the gardens than vegetables or fruits and everyone keeps mowing lawn on a regular basis. The houses that have been added to the village in the last century basically all look the same to me, although that is not really true. Of course they come with different faces, but nevertheless they feel like the same.

The fruits that grow outside of gardens are not harvested anymore, sadly I watched berries, cherries and apples rot away, while people go shopping for fruits instead. Everyone here seems to spend a fortune on their house facades, terrace designs and equipment and of course every family has more than one car, even in retired households. Are these people doing well? According to social standards, probably. Do they enjoy their lifes? I can’t tell. I never really made any new contacts in my neighbourhood that were not feline. It happened only one time that a neighbour stopped her car and asked me if I wanted a ride, while I was walking home during a  thunderstorm with heavy rain, carrying a fully packed backpack. While I had no idea who she was or in which of the houses she lived, she seemed to know me and dropped me off in front of the right building without having to ask. It seems that actually everyone in the neighbourhood knows me, because it is very unusual for someone to walk around in this area with a heavy backpack who is not a wanderer on the pilgrimage route. I tend to walk the 6km tour to the post office or the supermarket at least twice a week. I noticed something funny about this, while closer to the center, people sometimes smile at me and my backpack, maybe thinking I am a wanderer. I guess that walking the pilgrimage route is more respected than not owning a car. But the closer I get to “home”, the more people look away and don’t even greet me, as if they are afraid I would ask for a ride. Which I actually never would, I have outgrown the hitchhiker days, all people who gave me a ride during the last few years did actually ask me. Of course, sometimes it’s not easy to carry everything home like that, but alas, I like the feeling that follows, after being done with it.

This isn’t really my world. Although I enjoy the luxury of having a big space here, over the months, I have started to feel trapped in suburbia, like a wild animal within a lovely golden cage. The more I looked at all these domesticated humans, the more my feral side grew. More and more I felt tempted to run nacked into the garden during a summer rain, to give the neighbours something to talk about until the end of their days.

And then there was the summer solstice ritual in the mountains. Something happened that I can’t put into words, or I should rather say that I don’t want to put into words. When I returned, I did not return “home”. It was just a feeling until August, when I was informed that my place is supposed to be rented out by the end of the year for more money than I can pay with my current income. So far I only had to pay for the extras, which often seemed too much for me already, because the place is simply too big for one person and two cats. I didn’t even think twice and said, okay then, I am going to move, although I had no idea at that point of the story, where this journey would take me. I could have tried to find an additional work to finance this place, but somehow I was relieved that my guts were right. I do not belong here.

My following search for a new home was successful. Even more, it was one of these strange “coincidences”  that do not exist. And although my final moving is still a few weeks ahead from now, in my mind I have left suburbia already.

Good-bye suburbia, the ship has sailed.