|Wilderness adventure in Canada, California, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska:
on being a gypsy of the wilds.
The following excerpt is from IN, AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas, "The Kerouac of the new millennium." (FW)
My life on the coast would become a series of comings and goings- a migration of sorts, from the cancerous cosmopolitan clime, to the verdant lands full of sustenance and hope. I went out, time and again, to sift away the ore and try to find the living gold scattered thinly within the limitless dross. My peregrinations most often sprang from the hub of my movements, Vancouver, and widened out, covering from Northern California, up along the west coast of Vancouver Island, to the Queen Charlotte Islands, and into the Alaskan panhandle. It was in these places, where the mighty trees meet the pounding surf, that I held communion with the land and spirits therein, with the unique individuals who willfully populate these remote and untamed places, with God, and, most importantly ...with myself.
Were it not for these stretches of awe-inspiring, deserted, primordial wilderness, untainted nor scarred by the likes of men, I would surely have passed from this earth long ago. Were it not for the sweeping cedars, the awkward croon of the ravens, the peace of the eagle, the untamable spirit of the bear, and the freedom and abundance which is a gift of the sea, I would have gone crazy amongst a society for which I had grown sour early in life, and for which I held little need, little respect, and little expectation.
To wander amongst the great forests of the Pacific Northwest- or what little is left of them- is to live and grow under the glorious canopies of ancient hemlocks, towering Sitka spruces, and gigantic redwoods; it is to have the existences of these titanic organisms implanted within your very being, so that you become like a grafted branch, no longer yourself only, but a part of the land as well. And so to return to civilization is to be like a voyager from a forgotten world, containing the old vision and the new curse for mankind. To blend in and become one with the majesty of nature, is not only to know the peace and beauty of these colossal wonders, but also to become that very peace and beauty itself, and therefore to recognize from a different perspective the horrors of mankind's rapacity. It is to be sucked into the belly of a wonderful whale and then be spat out in Nineveh with no desire to do what you cannot avoid doing.
Which is to say, I had come, over time, to certain essential, troubling realizations, and I could no longer hide the pain from myself, and my pain was the world's pain, and so I could no longer hide the world from itself. And when that happens, let me tell you, the world will take up arms against you, because you did not, or could not, lie its lie, and you now cannot help but expose its worst repressions to itself, and that means you are a monster, or worse …a man.
Jack Haas is a wilderness explorer, world traveler, and independent researcher and writer. He is the author of four highly acclaimed books: THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, ROOTS AND WINGS: adventures of a spirit on earth, THE DREAM OF BEING: aphorisms, ideograms, and aislings, and IN, AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey.
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