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Wild Unknown

David Curtis

Through the storms of life we cannot help but seek shelter. We long for home, especially after getting lost.

Of course, when we walk the web of our life back to its center, we cannot know what new story we are spinning.

I’ve always considered myself lucky to be from a place that is dear to me, and where my family still resides. A place I can go back to. For the last seven years I have taken advantage of that fact, living back on the farm where I grew up. It is hard to express just what an education it is has been, to fully immerse myself in the rural culture, traditions, wisdoms – life in general – that I largely missed out on in my youth. And I was able to become deeply rooted in the natural world around me, which is something I have always craved and depended on, something that can be a real struggle when you reside in an urban landscape and world.

For the most part I have felt like going home again saved my life. But sometimes that sort of heavy gratitude can obscure the changing dynamics of a situation…It has taken me a while to remember, fully understand, that nothing stays the same. Everything is always changing, even the nature of our nearest and dearest relationships.

Indeed, a central part of my “education” during these last seven years has come from being acutely aware of the cycles of life and death, each season’s dance of coming and going, all these endless circles. I have learned to pay attention to the smallest of things. I have learned to respect the presence of the unseen world of spirit, dwelling in the details of every shred of creation.

In that light, it can be impossible to ignore the unwieldy feelings of restlessness, longing, desire. It seemed the more I acknowledged these forces inside me, layers of my life fell away. There were periods of deep mourning for not being able to keep some things around me, there were moments of harsh regret for things not being the way I had wanted; there were times I felt I had nothing to show for being here on the earth so far. Goals and dreams that had been buried or neglected made their presence known again. Eventually I realized I had earned a sort of freedom that should not be squandered. Perhaps it could be seen as a two-edged blade that must be handled with care and precision. I realized I did not want to be reckless with this freedom, but I did want to see where it would lead me.

The most important life-line I have had through this time of transition is the act of creation. Writing every day, even if just in my journal, keeps me going. New songs have come through as well. It is the thread that has brought me to where I am at this moment, and connected and reconnected me to people and places that are currently in support of this new chapter of my life.

Now I am in the city of Nashville for a spell – a place I’ve been arriving to and departing from for the last twenty years. I’ve learned a lot from this place, and I’m back to learn again. It feels right to be here, working on plans for a new record with this recent batch of songs that keep coming. In August I leave for a little solo tour out west – a dream I’ve had for a while. Those dates will be posted soon and I hope to chronicle much of that journey here, as I go.

And…a dear friend recently gifted me the THE WILD UNKNOWN Animal Spirit cards. The creator of this deck, Kim Krans, has such an enchanting yet practical way of illustrating and explaining these powerful archetypes (the Spider card in photo is from her TWU deck). Spider’s symbolism has been brought to my attention over and over throughout the years. In many Native American traditions the myth of Grandmother Spider has to do with weaving our own destinies, using creativity in a constructive way, and realizing that we are infinite spirits ourselves here on earth. I continue to be grateful for such guidance, no matter where I happen to be.

To make the connection even better for me, on The Wild Unknown website Kim tells her own story of bringing her creations into existence. It turns out one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, Isis, was a crucial inspiration. She quotes this part of the song – a great place to end, for now:

“So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away, to the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong”
-Bob Dylan