I feel at home in the wild.

What is wild?
Wild animals are undomesticated.
Wild lands unsettled.
Wild plants unprovoked.
Un-contaminated, un-shaped, un-human.

I feel at home in the wild.
It’s paradoxical.
At home in a place who gets its name from 
not being shaped to meet my human needs,
Who’s very identity  
Is freedom from my human touch.
But I do.

Maybe wild doesn’t have to be un-human. I have undeniably seen more wild things in Bart stations than could fit on this mountain.

A wild party is intense.
A wild guess, unconstrained.
A wild card unknown.
Maybe wild is freedom from imposed social norms.
As natural as human nature.

That makes sense.
My mind finds a friend in a fellow wild, weird, socially unacceptable world.
Sympathy for the social treatment of one that’s admired, but too inhospitable to settle.

But then,
does this “Regional Wilderness” really pass the test?
With only the occasional bushy tuft dotting grass shaved down so low by cattle that you can see the Earth’s flesh beneath, the mountain has the look of a painfully resigned show poodle.
This wilderness is not free 
from human values, human economies, human appetites.
So what is the freedom I find?

Do I crave escape into the wilderness with the same exoticism that pays my flight tickets? 
The freedom of a visitor’s pass without the responsibility for pain,
Comfortable in the role of an observer without the burden of a participant?

Yet, I cannot claim innocence in the murder of California’s “wild savages.”
Why not venture further to escape the touches of a painful past?
I am constrained by the map,
Relying on cleared trails to cushion my trek, 
As I rely on Ctrl+Z to pacify my expression, 
The Minerva bubble to absorb culture shock, 
Social incompetence as an excuse for remaining perpetually poised to grow apart from a loved one.
Insurance that my walk on the wild side has a comfortable path back,
because the four month life has no time for reciprocity.

Always prepared to leave 
when the tourist visa expires or protests break or the pandemic spreads,
When it gets too rainy for hiking,
And too painful for friendship,
On a permanent vacation 
from the tangled mess of cultures that make me, 
I am always in the wild. 
Always free from social norms 
And the responsibility to change them. 
Floating uncommitted, somewhere in the gap 
between an unknown home and the wilderness where I reside, 
I have heard Minervans say we are homeless.
But I feel at home in the wild.