“I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst, I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.”
Henry David Thoreau January 1853
What is nature? My professor asked us that day one of class. A simple question you may think, with a simple answer. Nature it the outdoors, the trees, the dirt, the bugs, and animals. That pretty much sums it up, right? Nope. Through the readings of many different writers, (nonfiction, fiction, memoir, and poetry) my perspective on the earth and the wild has broadened. Through this discovery, many questions have arisen. Most of those questions I have yet to find answers to, and some when I think I’ve got it, another question springs to life.
Throughout this collection of essays, you will follow me through my stream of consciousness. The following questions will be presented, attempted, but still pondered. What could I be doing to make a difference? What lessons can I learn and thus teach my children? How do you find refuge in change? What are the consequences of moral ignorance? Do you want to save the fucking wilderness? Frustratingly I continued on.
The funny thing about the earth and the wild is it’s astronomically large. No one man can tackle the idea that encompasses nature. No one man can answer the questions above. Many have tried to work at aspects of it, most have succeeded but only at the one small part, they are working at. The best place to start when trying to wrap your head around this concept of everything is that humans are merely a player in the larger game. The earth would go on without us, but we would not go on without it. One cannot be selfish in terms of nature. One cannot be a part of the wild if they are not one with the earth.
I have been greatly influenced by my own past and environment I have come to learn and grow up in. My frustratingly chaotic thoughts, as I try to work through the question of what Nature really is, is not fully organized. But I’ve come to realize I’m not sure it’s possible to become organized. I’m letting it serve as a trigger for further thought. Perhaps a push to further expand my knowledge, and hopefully yours, with the readings of environmental literature, and the allowance of questioning the idea presented. Let it be a bunch of mumbo-jumbo if you so choose. But I ask you to question the world, question human’s relationship with it, and it with humans. Find comfort in the unknown and embark on your own journey. Inspire the youth to think this way too. They should have no boundaries on Earth and live wildly.
The collection is inspired and provoked by the following titles:
Ramachandra Guha’s Environmentalism: A Global History
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring
Gary Snyder Turtle Island
Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America
Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms
Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
Edward Abbey The Monkey Wrench Gang
Gary Snyder’s The Practice of the Wild
T.C. Boyle The Tortilla Curtain
As a teacher, I Miss B,
promise to give students the freedom to think,
pose questions to open their minds,
and help them embrace everything around them.