As a facilitator delivering workshops and events on Deep Ecology and nature connection I am often faced with the question; what about those in cities? On my tours we wander the ancient oak forests, glacial lakes and mountain rivers of Eryri, which is where I have chosen to root. Many chose the cities and many are choiceless yet surely deserve and need the experience of wildness in order to lead healthy, abundant lives. Our cultural disconnect from wildness, indeed our fear of it, is rooted in patriarchy and is a relationship dominated by unhealthy masculine. Efforts to escape wildness are catastrophic to planetary and societal health.we have forgotten we are threads in a web.
I often carry a botanical loupe whilst walking these lands. The expansive views are indeed breathtaking, but I feel more connected to the wild when I am up close and personal; views are distant and allow for creative mind wandering and pondering big life questions, but it is when I can smell, feel and roll in wildness that I feel my innate connection and belonging to place. I get to know my own wildness that hides behind my smell-like Lynx facade (what if deodorant really did smell of wild cat?).
Often crawling, leaning in close, my eyes become but one element of the experience I am having. Diving between forests of moss spore heads, crawling along a mycelial tree trunk, examining lichen on rock, nettle stings and unknown alien bugs inhabiting dried seed heads I note that wilderness, that is, wildness, is everywhere. Not even my own body can be considered mine, given that I am largely a wild-biome of diverse species all relating, becoming this particular Self. When ‘I’ eat, I am actually feeding the billion inhabitants whose environment determines the health of the whole me, whose environment determines the wider me (my lands, the health of the trees etc).
So my invitation to you city dwelling wild ones.
Explore your parks, nearby trees and wild-boundaries of the concrete human habitats, but do not forget to bring your gaze to the wild cracks, leaf-mould crevices, dandelions drains, the flying ones, crawling ones and hidden ones. Spend time with the wilderness of a pavement crack, the escaped grassy patch, a forgotten yoghurt pot or the lichen cunningly covering the ‘B’ on a bus stop. The requirement of closeness in the tiny wilderness that makes up all wilderness is best felt viscerally. Our own wildness is best experienced crawling. From this wild-Self place, we are better able to watch the mountains or the sunsets and ponder not our felt individual lives, but our truly interwoven, smell-like-earth lives of relationships to all the lives that are us beautiful, complex two legged ones.