wilderness afterthoughts – what if we truly belong?


This one won’t let me go.

I couldn’t figure out how to finish that previous post, kept returning to edit here and then there (you may notice the subtle changes and additions) and still it feels incomplete, as if there is more stirring in me beneath that barely scratched surface.

I think (and perhaps that’s the real problem! LOL) that some part of me recognizes the alienation I create in the delineation between what is included as good and what is not, (the good nature/bad human dichotomy) and feels that as heart dis-ease when some deeper wisdom wants my heart to open to hold it all.

I am aware that my heart feels heavy when I walk with my eyes looking for brokenness and devastation. I also know that my heart can choose to seek beauty even there within it. It can and it does see wonder in the ruins when I gaze through those tendered eyes. I am also aware that the definitions I choose to believe color the way that my eyes see. What is good? Who is bad?

To put it simply, have I made the same mistake that my ancestors made when they separated out what was wilderness from what was human? Good over here. Bad over there. Is my desire to keep the ‘bad’ ( man ) out of ‘pristine’ wilderness just the flip side of their desire to separate the bad wilderness ‘out there’ from man. Perhaps both perspectives contain a large dose of the hubris that colors humanity’s vision, as if humans are somehow separate but not equal.

What if we are truly part of the wilderness. Included. As the wild creatures that we are with our particular impact upon the whole. What if we truly belong? – to one another, our wild animal self to the earth’s.

Can I love the creatures that trammel without labeling them as waste-full, even as i love the creatures that perish because of that trammeling, the way that I love the beaver and also the trees that she smothers to death. Can I honor the true needs of both without putting one over the other?


My heart wants to allow while also inviting healing. Again, it suggests a return to relationship. I see that if we insert ourselves as dominant over and view the earth as commodity at our disposal, there is a huge imbalance of power, which is devastating, of course, in any relationship. Conversely, if we view nature as set apart, requiring our protection, are we not also making it smaller than us and ourselves as master? Hmmm.

Can we envision a relationship of mutual need, where we honor the gifts that the other offers as different than our own, not lesser or more than, but sacred and worthy of reverence? How might we relate differently to an other whom we view with such tenderness and respect? Gratitude is invited, humility is deepened, care is extended. And not to leave ourselves out of this imagined equation, how might we feel to find ourselves viewed through the same lens? Our gifts and our needs also honored? Our place and inherent dignity valued. How might we act differently from this feeling of being valued?

Still, this tiny treatise veers toward ‘us and them’ thinking, when what i am feeling is so much more whole than that, more ‘one’ if you will.

We are wilderness.

Untameable, pristine, dark, mysterious.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. 8canoes
    Feb 22, 2018 @ 08:23:51

    Just came acrpss this. Have dabbled around the edges of the same wondering. I remember picking up trash in the woods, and apologizing to the tree for my people, who don’t understand what they are doing. I also find myself trying to hold the paradox, yes we are one, yes we are separate. Mystery.

    Liked by 1 person


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