You are wild too
One of the things I find difficult about taking a walk in a city, and increasingly in rural parts of this island too, is the astonishing increase in litter. When I see how much plastic rubbish is piled up against hedges or along verges, and wound around trees, it hurts. It's like someone has upended a skip on the floor of a Cathedral.
I believe that this Earth we are on is a holy place. Everywhere that something is growing is a sacred place. Life is a miracle and as far as we know this miracle is only happening here, on this planet, in this minute slice of cosmic time.
Everything that is alive on our planet is the result of aeons of collaboration, cooperation, birth, death, love. A staggering complexity of cause and effect. And everything that is alive on our planet has an awareness of its life and an awareness of the life around it; the slime mould that crawls toward food, the raven that follows the wolf, the swallow migrating thousands of miles. Even the rocks and minerals, usually seen as just inert things, are connected and woven into the complexity of life.
What a beautiful thing this world is!
But for billions of humans there is a deep and catastrophic disconnect from the world. Wildness is seen as 'out there' usually a long way away from where humans are. Those great and famous landscapes; our National parks, the Antarctic wilderness, the Amazon rain-forest, might be widely acknowledged as sacred, beautiful places that we have officially designated as special. But we forget, or dismiss, that the simple, close to home, everyday places are also special, wild, sacred places. The hedge beside a busy dual carriageway, the patch of grass outside an office, the trees along our city streets. These places are sacred places too.
Millions of people love nature and love to visit natural places. But it's a going out experience, one that places the natural world as something other, something we leave our everyday life to visit, someplace we journey to, feel rejected from, have longing for but feel we cannot connect to.
I think that this sense of the wild being other, outside of our daily experience, is what’s really causing us to harm the world. Perhaps, a bit like angry teenagers, we feel that we have been rejected by nature and so lash out in our hurt and anger? Maybe we nurture our hurt by a sense of disdain for our family of Earth beings?
But we haven't been rejected, we haven't been abandoned, we are natural beings, we are nature. We are a part of it, not separate from it and the narrative that says humans are rejected, cast out from the Earthly garden, that narrative is a lie.
Do you see the wild birches growing in the disused city lot? The free birds that nest in them? The feral grass growing in the cracks of the pavement? The unruly mosses that make little gardens along the walls? Do you hear the wild foxes and rats that trash the bins and range across the dark city streets?
You are not separate from these wild things. Your body is host to billions of bacteria, everything you eat connects you to everything else. You are home, you belong here, you are nature, you have not been cast out.
I invite you to take a walk with the mentality that you are a part of nature, not separate from it. Walk among the wild things that are right here. Feel that you are a free being, that you are wild too.