No Going Back – Viking Ships & Half Hearted Swings – by Jesse Wolf Hardin
No Going Back: Viking Ships & Half-Hearted Swings
by Jesse Wolf Hardin (www.animacenter.org)
Wildness is ultra-expressive kids, unbowed women and unpaved nature, the irrepressible dandelion and the pet-scaring coyotes skulking within the city walls. It is also a state where our needs take precedence over custom and schedule, where we are self defined rather than defined by other’s expectations… where we respond to our instincts and hearts, act to realize our hopes, live our wildest dreams.
While I didn’t think of it as such at the time, traipsing to New Mexico with hardly even the price of gas was surely a wild thing for me to do, a rejection of not only the normal, safe way of doing things but of the mindset that there is anything in the world an impassioned body cannot accomplish with the right balance of impassioned effort or inexplicable miracle or magic. It was this that I drove my school bus camper home onto the land that became the Animá Sanctuary, across the fabled seven river crossings from a road and into what had once been a Mogollon Indian ceremonial center. It was wildly unreasonable but true to heart for me to cover the earnest money required for my very earnest offer, by selling both my motorcycle and the engine out of our bus — the absolutely only other transportation that we had.
Years later I read about how ancient Viking warriors had disembarked on a raid of and English or other enclave, only to find themselves confronted by a much larger contingent of defenders. The chiefs would on occasion set fire to their own ships’ sails rather than order a retreat, thereby ensuring that their men would give their all, guaranteeing there would be no “half-hearted swings.” By then I had covered the bus with wooden cabin sides and trimmed it with a river-gazing porch, dressing if not totally concealing the metal form that had been both vehicle and home. On the front I attached, for the general benefit of sentiment, history, my own gratification, and the curiosity of any guest to actually notice – a metal plaque embossed with an image of the Viking’s iconic shield-strapped vessel. It is a reminder of the importance of taking risks in order to fully live the adventure of our life and purpose, whether that means selling everything to buy land, or renting a studio to teach dance, or writing blogs publicly telling the truth and struggle of your growth for the first time. Daring to wildly stretch, grow, love and manifest, savor and celebrate
By the way, originally the word “viking” was a verb not a noun, and certainly not yet the generic term for a group of diverse and far flung Nordic tribes. It was a verb, a word denoting action… meaning not to raid or plunder, but simply (and boldly) to venture.
To read a full detailed history of the founding and development of the Animá Center & Sanctuary, please go to the Archives list on the left side of this page and click on the Animá History heading under Teachings & Practice. Thank you.
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Categories: Anima's History, Jesse Wolf Hardin – Essays & Tales, Practicing Animá Lifeways, ReWilding