What do you think when you see a Sasquatch bumper sticker on a car? That silhouette of a big footed, hairy upright beast taking a long stride is unmistakable, he is always walking off to somewhere isn’t he? Perhaps you have one on your car.

If you do, it is probable that the person in the car behind you is placing you into one of the following camps:

Camp 1
This person truly believes Sasquatch is stomping around the forest and that is just fun and cute isn’t it?

Camp 2
This person truly believes Sasquatch is stomping around the forest and that is just the stupidest thing and …ugh can they go any slower?!

Camp 3
This person does not really believe Sasquatch is stomping around the forest…..but that sticker is just fun and cute isn it?

Camp 4
This person does not really believe Sasquatch is stomping around the forest but they bought that sticker after seeing it a thousand times over at every gift shop in Oregon until finally giving in. Or, they just moved here from Michigan and her name is probably Jessica and its only a matter of time before she trades that Prius in for a Subaru.

Eye roll.

Why are we so obsessed with Sasquatch?

Let’s take a leap and assume Sasquatch is a myth. A story created and passed down by humans living in the rainforest that is the Pacific Northwest before modern agriculture, science and pocket computers.

Follow me now, back in time… deep into the shadowed forest as you walk under a canopy of evergreen giants. Wet leaves squeak and crack as you pick your path. Drops of water drip from benevolent boughs of Doug Fir, a blanket of green ferns brushing your legs as you search past felled trees and rocky outcroppings. The smell of cedar flirts around you. You have come to your favorite…pooping spot.

Naturally, you are alone. The sounds of your human clan are faint in the distance allowing for the rush of wind from the mighty forest behind you to claim your ears and your senses perk up. What was that sound? A hint of animal musk is on the breeze, from where does it come? What lurks deep in that forest other than deer and bears that strikes fear in a human heart?

The ability to answer a question like this with a complex imagining is what differentiates us from all other animals. When I tell my 3 year old son that we are also animals, he refuses to believe me. Animals don’t speak, or maybe they do in their own way, but do they tell each other stories? Do they invent and give language to a potential reality other than the one they are experiencing now? It seems an ability unique to humankind, one we have used since the beginning of time.

These days myth is synonymous with “untrue.” We roll our eyes at them, dismiss them as childish devices of former generations less intelligent than our own modern selves. But myth has been with us all along, weaving and winding its way through history, holding together society acting as an unseen babysitter in our collective conscience. Stories that guide our morals and actions, that keep us living in the correct attitude towards our environment work in identifiable ways. These are the stories that become myth. If Sasquatch has persisted as a workable myth then something about him serves our human ambitions.

Let us return to the bumper sticker on Jessica from Michigan’s Prius. Maybe the Squatch is holding an umbrella or riding a bike or throwing up a peace sign, but there is no doubt he’s a bi-ped walking that endless journey through our minds. He is kind of like us, and so, we are kind of like him. It is our selves we see in that creature taking a giant step. If only we could take such a gargantuan step forward that it wound us all the way back to the beginning. To bare feet and foraging, to radical freedom and living at our edge in the adventure that is the unknown.

If Sasquatch can survive in the perilous wild then so can we. We can return to our animal nature and stop being at odds with our environment. We can drop the constant effort to control, to afford, to win. We can opt out. No more instagram posts, no more processed food, no more grinding to make the gears of capitalism churn just to watch others scrape the cream from the top. No more debt. We can embrace fear in it’s most vulnerable form, the kind of fear you feel while taking a crap alone in the woods.

In humanizing Sasquatch we wink at the notion that we can re-wild ourselves.

I hold out hope that Sasquatch is a thousand year old vegetarian because then maybe I too can live a long and radically free life. People put dogs in strollers. So. weirder things have happened.

Next time you see that bumper sticker I wonder…..What camp are you in?

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