Wednesday, October 19, 2011


-- In Zanesville, Ohio, armed police who have already killed 30 of them are patrolling the streets, on the lookout for what remains of the 48 wild animals that escaped from a nature preserve where the owner's corpse was found Tuesday, an apparent victim of suicide. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears had been held captive at the preserve.

If you lock up the things that are wild -- whether within or without -- aren't they bound to escape, bound to cause fear, bound, at some point, to go unbound?

-- A Pennsylvania woman is in custody in Philadelphia, accused of locking four mentally-infirm people in a basement crawl space while apparently stealing their Social Security money.
"Detectives also found dozens of ID cards, power-of-attorney forms and other documents in the apartment, suggesting the alleged theft scheme involved more than just the four captives." One man was found chained to a furnace.

-- In Lafayette Park, near the White House in Washington, Elijah Alfred "Nature Boy" Alexander Jr., 66, regularly spends his days walking and talking. He calls the park his office. ""I became a preacher in the Baptist church and realized I was a hypocrite for telling people to live the nomadic life of Jesus Christ and I haven't done it myself. So I chose to become the nomad." That was 15 years ago." He tells his life story to those who ask. (This photo essay requires the viewer to wade through an ad first.)

What is it that calls out pleasantly from a person or people who decline the blandishments of a civilized and much-camouflaged society? Isn't there some small voice, however badly informed, that whispers, "Gee, I'd love to do that too and I am glad there is someone who actually is doing it."? The longing may not be well-defined as to mission or credo, but it's almost instinctual, as if rising up from the long-ago and far-away within. It is as if something were missing and much-missed... the "nomad" or the peaceable wild thing ... uncaged and breathing free.

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