The Instinct for Life
I will not apologize; there was an erotic undercurrent to this evening’s walk.
There was a heavy thunderstorm late in the afternoon with torrents of rain. By early evening, the park trials were bathed in a soft, clearing twilight gracing the woods with radiant rays through air saturated with moisture.
The temperature was in the low 60s and the humidity was nothing short of tropical. It tinged the view with a misty paleness, bringing to life realist landscapes of Rousseau or Manet. The lush greens and blues faded at a distance by the breath of Zeus, the misty remnant of his afternoon fury.
The woods were resplendent in their lushness, freshly showered, flaunting their natural beauty with perhaps a blushing feint of vanity.
It was the profuse display of emerging life that suggested the Eros of the wood. It was impossible to ignore the instinct for life in this rolling carpet of soft, fresh green bursting out among the stand of trees. The raw intuition for life, the innate force of nature to sustain itself in this lush, riotous profusion was inescapable, intoxicating. The yearning for propagation of species, the indomitable drive to life was palpable in the moist air.
The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life. ~ Jean Giraudoux
As I climbed the rolling trails a humid perspiration ran down my back that in this fecund wood put me in mind of a conjugal sweat, revealing my own instinct for life among the revelry of abundance that has risen from this good soil.
This evening was given to a particular aspect of “a taste of existence” – the raw, vibrant instinct, the will to life. Tonight I was the passive recipient – perhaps an intuitive listener to the naked pulse of life and the drive to sustain it.
The apparent beauty of the scene and the lush display of life — and of the truth of what is “good” and pleasing to behold in a spare, fundamental way, prompts one to proclaim the joy of the scene. Not only through a communication such as this journal, but also to sense the instinctive desire to sustain life itself and pass the gift forward.
Because it is good and it must be sustained and shared and reflected upon.
As Fr. Norris Clarke posits near the end of his interview, linked in Woods Walking #11, such a drive for life and the communication of its fundamental good – the very joy of existence – points to the most fundamental Will to Be and create new life.
These sweet moments of intuition point to the loving nature of our own “taste of existence” and our personal sampling of these most fundamental instincts.
Copyright © Rudolph Siegel 2011
1 A Taste of Existence: An Interview with W. Norris Clarke, S.J. on the Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas