Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wolfman Cometh Part 1: Oggy Has A Vision

Editor's Note: This is the first installment of the Wolf Quest. The links for the other 14 installments are at the bottom of this page and on the bottom of the page of all the other installments.

I can look back and laugh now, the baggy pants, back pain, broken muffler, broken batteries, broken transmission...the video footage I have is a mockery of all documentaries. The real beginning of this twisted tale of confusion and wasted youth begins around the time of the Industrial Revolution...but I need to skip some of that and jump right to the part when I had a vision as I succumbed to the 127 degree heat in my van in Mexico, heat that melted plastic, heat that boiled water, and I crawled outside into the sand and rolled into the Sea of Cortez to cool off. I had a vision of wolves and how hot they must be and how hot they would become as their habitat heated up. They might initially enjoy the warmer weather but the men would soon arrive with their development plans and the wolf would be considered a pest, dangerous to progress...and it would be eliminated. Well, the wolf is resilient having survived all attempt to eradicate it like the American Bison but Baffin and Ellesmere Island are the end of the road. The inhabitants of those islands took thousands of years to develop. The first wolf probably walked onto Ellesmere Island across an icy path in pre-history and developed a balance of population and habits over generations. All that could be destroyed in a solid year of hunting. It would be like landing on The Galapagos Islands with a bazooka and killing everything in your path. The freezing winters and the hordes of mosquitoes are all that protects Ellesmere Island. Once the climate allowed development the Arctic wolf would not adapt, it would become extinct at least on that ancestral home of Baffin Island. And as my head fell beneath the warm water, surrounded by excrement pumped into the Sea by the oblivious Mexican hotels, I decided I could do something about it. I could go to Ellesmere Island and defend the wolf when men came with guns. I would get there first and establish a defense system. I knew that the only hope of salvation would be boots on the ground and a fight to the death. I could cross the country and recruit an army of Wolf Warriors to defend Ellesmere Island. All the evidence predicts a showdown in the Arctic for new territory, new resources and the wolf would not survive unless someone was there to defend him. I decided that someone would be me.

the wolf's best hope?

 How does one travel from the tip of Baja California to Ellesmere Island? This question was not foremost in my mind. I am bound by my imagination alone. If I wanted to play golf on the moon, I believe I could do so. So, the physical details, I knew, were the least of my problems. I woke up in the Yukon Territory once and I had camped under an electric fence, that immediately shocked me. I camped during a violent storm in a grassy area near a narrow road and was woken up by a tree full of howling monkeys and giraffes that were behind the fence of the Rapid City, South Dakota Safari park. I tried to bicycle to San Francisco from Boston...and ended up in Fairbanks, Alaska. When I sleep in the van with the curtains closed I have no idea what I'm going to see when I open the curtains up. It's like a surprise present that determines my future every morning. If I want to go to Ellesmere Island then the question isn't "Who will let me," but rather, "Who will stop me?"
Wolf Point, Mexico

All quests have a beginning and an end. A quest will tell a lot about a person, reveal much in the manner of character and fortitude and cowardice. He will stand naked before himself on a quest and stare his fate square in the eyes. All will be revealed. This is perhaps the function of a quest, to strip the vanity and fringe accessories away until all that is left is the quest. A quest exposes the heart of the himself and to others. He may try to disguise himself but eventually the quest will expose all. What makes a man into a pilgrim? Thoreau already wrote the best answer, "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." But what Thoreau leaves out is the implied dissatisfaction with the traditional that first gets a pilgrim thinking. Thoreau's discontentment is the initial mover, not his idealism. The pilgrim is dissatisfied with the shallow life, the nibbles at the leg bone of society, the thread count exasperation. His imagination is not satisfied with fiction. When a man finds society beneath him then he invents a goal that is worthy of his self-image, something worth striving for. Along the way he purges the dissatisfaction and determines that frustration, failure and even death are preferable.

planting trees in Quebec

I have 7 hours of video footage of this journey, plus many photos...and there is a story here no one but I can write.

Here are links to the installments of the Wolf Quest


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG = Wolf's best hope? God help us and God help the wolf - talk about a photo being worth a 1000 words, Sometimes with your blog I don't know whether to cry or to laugh - you are so skillful at walking the ever so narrow line between self-mockery and deep-felt passion. I can hardly wait for part II.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.