Wild: The Call

To be wild, to hear the heartbeat of nature, to feel the rush of adrenal strength, to drink from the fresh air and howl at the moon – these are things that are embedded into men.

Men are wild, mighty, and fierce. Yet our culture wraps silky ropes around our necks, and shaves our faces, and trims our nails. The wildman isn’t quite socially acceptable. It’s not okay to have dirt under your fingernails, or to kill your own dinner.

We don’t have to reject civilization entirely, there is a time and a place for manners and polite conversation and neckties and cologne.

But I believe that all men, even the dandier, fluffier ones, have a call – drums beating in the distance – that beckons them into the wild.


“But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called — called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”

― Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Fury. Sometimes, yes. Wild fury and righteous anger stirs up in the hearts of men. Driving them to action, to battle, to fight. Hopefully, it’s tempered with the code, with the order. Fury must be kept in check, and be used to propel justice, to free the oppressed, to protect.

Tests of Strength. From the time boys are young, they enter contests, either alone or with their brothers, and their fathers – to see how strong they are. Wrestling, weightlifting, arm-wrestling, “bloody knuckles,” Chinese hot-hands, even thumb wrestling. This wild behavior may seem reminiscent of goats butting their heads against each other, or bears mawing at each other’s necks…. But it’s a part of who we are. We don’t necessarily outgrow it. And that rough and tumble tug-of-war helps shape us, helps bond us together, and helps remind us who we want on our side if there is a time to fight.

The call of the wild pushes men to success. It drives men to be refreshed in nature. As long as we wrap it up in silk and lace and soap, it will still be there.

“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”

― Jack London, The Call of the Wild


“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight.”

― Jack London, The Call of the Wild