The midnight moon glow envelops the sleeping forest. Insects and frogs create a steady symphony where hundreds of different sounds become one tune. The cloudless sky, freckled with stars, splays out endlessly in every direction.
All is one in the night and yet one is alone. Alone darting through the trees, her shining fur coat pulsates with her running strides. Her quickening breath becomes a cloud in the cool night air. She comes to a clearing and stops. The stars reflect in her everlastingly black eyes as she lifts her head to the sky. She howls. The moon listens until her voice fades into the crickets’ song. Everything is one and yet one is alone…
As you grow older you learn more about yourself. Probably because you are stuck with yourself all of the time. And the more time you spend with yourself, even if you only engage in a minimal amount of self reflection, the more you realize what makes you tick. And as you learn more about yourself, you learn more about others. You begin to search for a pack like you. People with like value systems, likes and dislikes, ways of understanding the world.
I have found that I, on the other hand, am a loner. Not the hermit, hoarder, haven’t-left-the-house-in-years kind of loner. The kind of loner who can be smiling and surrounded by people yet nevertheless, alone. The kind of loner who realizes she’s a square peg with only circle holes. The kind of loner who can be at a party full of laughter and dancing and yet really it’s just her, just her and the moon.
I’ve always been a free spirit. I was the kid who wanted to grow up and live in the rainforest so I could tie myself to trees before they were bulldozed. I was the kid that questioned instead of followed most social constructs and lost plenty of friends over arguments about them killing spiders. Once when someone gave me a toy doll I pretended she was an orphan I found while traveling the globe.
One could argue that this “lone wolf” identity was something I born with. I do believe I was. I am also a magnet for the messy things in life and I believe that too has changed me. I have been humbled, honored and changed by both my career in social work and opportunities I have had to volunteer both locally and abroad.
Being free spirited is often difficult. Running alone is different than running with a pack. You have to watch your own back. And from time to time, you even have to gaze at your reflection in the water to validate and remind yourself that you still exist. Being a lone wolf can be frustrating, sad, and disheartening at times. Not to mention running from the terror of mediocrity and routine can get quite tiring.
But there is a beauty in being free spirited. There is honor in appreciating the grey in life. There is integrity in speaking up when no one else does and offering genuine, heart-driven ideas and perspectives. Our very histories are written in the echoed howl of lone wolves who have gone before us.
When you are a free spirit, you have three choices, you can be quiet, you can try to become a circle peg, or you can howl at the moon. You can howl even if no one is listening. Because when you realize there is meaning, direction and beauty in who you are, you allow your voice to be heard.
And even if only the moon is listening, the moon changes the world everyday.