THE OUTLAW TRAIL
What mental images, or, perhaps even better, what feelings are evoked when hearing the names, “Butch Cassidy”, “Sundance”, “Jesse James”, “Billy the Kid”? All were folk heroes in their day and continue to be…..long after they’re gone. Ever wondered, why the never ending trail of books and movies that glamorize the exploits of the western ‘bad man’? It may be that the writers of books and makers of movies know that folks identify with the part of an outlaw’s personae that leans towards truth. The part that stands up for injustice, has the courage to right a wrong, or, perhaps uphold a personal value that the ‘elected law’ ignores. We cheer inside when the ‘evil’ bad guy gets his due, but the bad guy living outside the law, who is living a personal truth, we are sympathetic towards, in fact, we herald him (i.e. Buford Pusser, John McLane, Hans Solo, Josey Wales, Dirty Harry, etc.).
On the other hand, there are some that live outside the law, who are metaphors for those that choose to live outside their hearts. Look a bit closer and you’ll find that the life of those living outside the law is full of distrust, worry, not knowing or having real friends and constantly looking over ones shoulders. When one did sleep, it wasn’t sound. ‘That’ outlaw trail is full of nerves on edge, being tired, haggard and unkempt – both physically and emotionally. I like to equate living on this ‘outlaw trail’ to living in the mind, outside one’s heart, and thus being subject to all the angst of one who goes against their own true nature.