The Chase

I have trouble articulating rewilding in traditional pedagogical terms.

I do not see it as project-based learning, service-learning, or experiential-learning, although it is all of these things. I see it as a quest, journey, or an odyssey.

I do not think of it in terms of “learning outcomes.”

I think of it in terms of an “awakening.”

You feel rewilding.

When it is working, this is how it feels. Be warned, though, for the following description holds more than just reality—it’s a world of fantastical beasts and imagery—a realm where…

We are on the move.

We are leaping, running, and flying.

We are swinging, swimming, and climbing.

We have shaken off our human forms. We have assumed our natural forms – the bugs, beasts, and bird-like creatures we incarnate in our dreams.

We are together. We are wild. We are free. We are on the loose.

We are on the move.

We are leaping, running, and flying.

We are swinging, swimming, and climbing.

We dig holes in the dirt. We dive into the depths of the streams. We wade through the thickets. We sniff the air. And when one of us catches the scent of something good, we all come running.

We gather around. We jostle for position. We paw at it. We scratch at it. We peck at it. We hoot. We grunt. We whoop. We stomp. We trumpet. We haw. But then there’s a caw from above.

There’s something worth investigating in the distance. So, we are off. And once again, we are vaulting, springing, and bounding over the landscape.

What are we looking for?

It does not matter.

Why do we do this?

To be together.

But we don’t stay together forever. When the time comes, some of us spin off and go in our own direction. But others always appear to take our place. When they do, we approach and extend them an invitation to join us.

Some say “no.”

We leave them behind.

Others say “yes.”

We leave them behind as well.

One of them gives chase.

That’s good.

They struggle to keep pace with us.

That’s expected. They’re still a bi-pedal. Bi-pedals are slow.

But they don’t give up.

They keep running.

Their brow perspires. Their body aches. And, their breathing grows thick with phlegm.

Their mind screams “Give up! Give up! Give up!”

Their heart whispers “Keep up. Keep up. Keep up.”

And, in their effort to stay abreast, something ignites deep inside the caverns of their heart.

It’s called commitment.

They commit to us. We commit to them.

They commit to the chase that we’re already taking. And when they do, they transform.

They shed their submissiveness and cast off their epidermis.

They shake their mane.

They roar.

They pick up speed. Catch up. Keep stride with us and feel that feeling that draws us together, binds us together and keeps us together.

What does that feeling feel like?

It feels like the rush and riot of possibility.

The freedom to take and hold and be any shape of a shape we were destined to be.

It feels like this Nike commercial from 2002 (especially the last 32 seconds):

Thanks for reading! – shawn


Other Posts from the Rewild School Blog Series: