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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

With Wild Abandon

Edges of the early morning hugged the grey sky as I drove home from the grocery store, Saturday rituals igniting the day—a gathering of food for the week and a mountain of laundry waiting for me at home. I will ascend the height of its earthy socks and ledges of shorts. It is mine to conquer!

The chores of Saturday somehow soothe me. The act of putting things in their place marks the ending and the beginning of the cycle. I love to have my life ordered. It makes me feel secure. So it was in this frame of mind that I stopped at the light on McCasslin Boulevard and saw to my right two young women of 15 or 16 on their bikes, waiting for the walking sign. They were wearing plaid cotton pajama bottoms and matching striped t-shirts, green and white. And even though the rain was staring to spot the street and my windshield, even though a small rumble of thunder warned of more, these two young women wore no shoes, and only some stretchy slippers on their feet. When the light changed, they pedaled off toward the coffee place across the busy boulevard, hair flying, laughter on their faces and I thought: how wonderful to be young and outrageous. What happens to that “wild” as we grow older?

Note to self: after the orderliness of things are embraced; after the food is put in the fridge and the recycling bins have been placed on the curb; after the laundry is washed and folded, placed gently into drawers, is there any wild left for me, or have I snuffed it out with this grown up sense of responsibility? I want to ride a bike in my pajamas in the early morning rain!

A friend told me that my dog, Jeter, was a great gift to me because I could not control his chronic shedding; could not keep him clean and smelling nice. Jeter is the wild, outrageous that lopes through my house leaving muddy paw prints and blond Labrador hair everywhere. My friend is right, he is my gift—a slobbery oaf of a dog who underscores the lack of control and the joy of abandon in living a life.

My husband and I fell in love dancing. That was our wild. We still dance to old Motown—in stocking feet next on the living room floor, a reprieve from the more serious life that urges us toward the expiration date on the to-do list. The dog’s wagging tail keeps time to a never hidden joy that seeps into our hearts when music plays and the rain taps against the windows and doors. Screw the to-do list!

Monday morning finds me writing these words, finishing the story of young women who inspired a wonderment of the wilds. I know that in a few minutes, I will push the “publish” button on this blog post and find my way into a day that will be orderly, but tinged with dog hair, reminding myself to keep my wild close by. Perhaps I should go to my office in pajamas today!

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