As a child he would escape at night through the window to enter the forest, where he felt free and autonomous and more accompanied than among humans. At the age of 19 he decided to stay and live in the forest like any other animal and ended up being accepted by the roe deer. “That absolute trust that they gave me touched me deeply.” They taught him how to survive: to sleep in freezing winters without a blanket or shelter, to eat, to store food in little holes they dig in the ground, and to communicate. For his part, he knew how to make himself understood and teach them with his barking and attitude to detect the danger of the hunters and how to hide. Incredible experiences that he tells in El hombre corzo (Captain Swing). “Alone in the forest, next to the roe deer, I don’t think anything, I don’t put words to what I see; I breathe or listen. I feel”.
Seven years living in the forest.
Without a shelter, a tent or a sleeping bag.
When I was a child I had difficulty relating to each other and the forest was my refuge. I would escape at night through the window, slipping through the blackbird beech to enter the gloom of the great trees and the swarm of animals. I prayed to God to turn me into a fox.
They are free, they do not need anyone. In the end, I too became wild: at the age of 19 I decided to settle in the forest with my camera forever, because only one rule deserves my respect: that of nature.
Nothing left to fear?
Danger never comes from the forest, as the animals well know.
But you were a stranger.
If you respect them, you can earn their trust. Living the present, like them, gives me back the place I occupy in the order of things. Animals teach me that the more I think, the more the feeling of danger catches me.
Did you have to learn to survive?
Yes, to organize and feed myself, discover which were the plants, fruits and roots that provide the most minerals and vitamins.
And how did you know?
The deer taught me. I met one, an enigmatic creature; I was surprised by his curiosity, he watched me, and got used to my presence. He was bouncing around, stopping, turning around and waiting for me. I called him Daguet, and he taught me to live in the forest.
The nights are hard: boars growl, owls screech, foxes howl. They all run and scream. And the cold makes me hypothermic. Roe deer rest for short periods of two hours, day and night, and when they wake up they eat as much as they can.
He copied his model of life.
Yes, and I ate what they ate, so I got more strength. Metabolism, reflexes and the mind change, but with time. When living with wild animals, it is necessary to establish a partnership, an alliance.
And what was that alliance?
I made sure that the roe deer understood that I was not a rival, and they saw that when they were with me the rest of the
Animals bothered them less.
A friendly relationship?
Yes, I had contact with 43 deer friends and a very close relationship with 12: they came to look for me, to play with me, they licked me. It was a relationship like with a pet.
I think they were amused that I was there with them, so they decided to share their scent with me and mark my territory as well. Roe deer are very sensitive to our emotions and, above all, to the smell that they exhale.
They smell our stress and aggressiveness.
Yes, like them, we then give off an acid smell. Joy and tranquility exhale sweet aromas. That absolute trust that they gave me moved me and I changed.
Tell me about that transformation.
I discovered the inner balance and changed my conception of the world. For the roe deer, death is part of the challenge of living, and sharing it allowed me to discover a deep sense of ecology. Everyone wants purchasing power to consume, but consume for what, to be happy?… We would probably be happier with fewer things and in a different way.
It makes no sense that food arrives from the other end of the planet or that on weekends we take the car and stand in line to go to nature. Let’s live close to it, consume and cultivate our own.
Why has he returned to civilization?
Logging came, devastated the territory and the animals with which it lived left.
Do you feel more alone among humans than among roe deer?
Yes, but in the small town where I live, everyone is alone. Isolation is something that moves fast. As humans we have lost those deep ties that made our species great in a moment.
Did you ever feel alone in the forest?
Never. Sit under a tree and at some point an animal will appear and come over, pay attention to you and then move on, but there will be an exchange.
He decided to tell the world about the nobility of his friends, the roe deer.
I met a walker who loved animals and I opened up, I told her my story. “You should expose your photographs to make the life of the roe deer known”, she told me.
And he did, he exhibited his wonderful photos.
Yes. A lot of people came, eager to see both the photographs and this strange guy. I was surprised to find that I could tell from each person’s scent the irritation, fear, or mistrust they exuded.
We want to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this remarkable material
“I begged God to turn me into a fox”
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