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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ME, WILDNESS AND THOREAU




Wildness has a mind of its own. It is barbarous and crazy in the eyes of most folks -- they feel that it should be admired for its conformity not wildness. Lawns, landscapes, and mono-cultures are typical examples of this conformity. 



When I was young, a very long time ago, I used to play in fields and woods mostly for what I could discover. Almost everyday I journeyed into that canvas and discovered something new -- usually in the plant and insect world. These places rooted me into the natural world. I would sit on logs and observe the natural interactions of the wind, rain clouds and overall movement of the woods and fields.

Part of my collection

I set up collections of nature's miscellaneous remnants as did my good friend Billy who lived near me. We had no idea who owned the fields and woods -- we felt we did. 

Dew drops after a rain.

Today, many, many years beyond my early experiences I still have my roots planted there. And also in other places where I have lived since. Finding wildness has become more difficult. It's parameters seem to be shrinking fast. 

Wild asters from a field

Here is a passage from a recent book I read, The Abstract Wild by Jack Turner:


"Thoreau's famous saying "in Wildness is the preservation of the World" asserts that wildness preserves, not that we must preserve wildness. For Thoreau, wildness was a given . . . (his) personal effort . . . was a project of the self."




20 comments:

  1. Those wanderings are invaluable. Even though I lived in urban areas as a child, I always found vacant lots, wild-growing berries and uncultivated flowers. For several years we lived near a beach. Beachcoming was what I liked to do best. When we lived in that town, which was still rural in places then, my sister and I would take bag lunches and would be gone all day, up in the hills.
    We spend as much time as possible with our grandchildren at the Seattle beaches. We don't have real beaches on the Big Island, not like the wide ones on the West Coast with the sea birds and so on, but our beaches have their charms, too.
    We hike and swim here a lot and enjoy those activities with our children and grandchildren when they visit us. The Volcanoes National Park is a reasonably intact and fascinating natural environment.

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    1. Hattie -- Your present life seems to be one of bumping up to nature in many places. It is somewhat difficult to experience the wild in the ways that I did when I was young. Developments and population increases have taken over. But there are still empty vacant lots in many places where one can discover wildness if one one desires. Kids are good at finding those empty lots. -- barbara

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  2. Knowing ones roots is a very important part of knowing who you are. It seems that you have done a good job in attending to those roots, in spite of the general trend today. Keep it up!
    PS I really enjoyed that misty forest!

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    1. visualnorway -- It seems I have gone full circle in this life of mine. Started with love of nature and now in my elder years still love of nature. There has been many other widening circles but nature wins hands down. thanks for your nice words. -- barbara

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  3. I have just read a short book, a discussion between botanist/naturalist Edward O Wilson and poet Robert Hass, The Poetic Species. Wilson feels much, much more wilderness needs to be protected both for the sake of human beings and for the ecological health of the world. Both believe many people with your love of nature exist and need to speak out.

    Your photos are beautiful, as always.

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    1. June -- I looked up the Poetic Species by Wilson. I was not familiar with it although I do have a few Wilson books. Do you recommend it? I am drowning in books so I am taking it slow on getting any new ones. I have reread my books many times over the years -- I count them as friends. Of course the library is a good source. I do find tons of books with great environmental authors -- too many to mention here. thanks for the nice comment -- barbara

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  4. I see so many textures in these photos. Color and shades too. What a good detail artist you are, capturing a bit of that wildness to share...though I know you leave a lot more than you bring home!

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    1. Barbara -- I am always amazed at what I find and learn about nature and its connections to us. The more wildness is left to survive -- the more we will survive. It's a tough world for all the critters out there including us humans. The recent huge die off of homey bees in the Zika spraying in the South makes me so sad. What about the people that inhaled the spray? thanks -- barbara

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  5. Though I generally eschewed the bug portion, I did have that sort of childhood, and blue salt tablet bottles to hold my Queen Ann's Lace. When I see shoppers in regular grocery stores with reusable bags, I think our selves may be improving.

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    1. Joanne -- I shop at an organic food store. I notice that most folks shopping in the store bring their own bags even if they need to bring five or six to carry it all. I do imagine that folks shopping in regular grocery stores are bringing their own bags too. At least I hope so. thanks -- barbara

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  6. Like you I find my touchstones in the wilderness when the civilized world is too much for me. The artificial fun wears me down fast.

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    1. Tabor -- yes, I agree that wildness can provide a certain spirituality of nature to us. Artificial fun wears me out too. And seeing nothing but a sea of cell phones when out and about causes me concern about the new generations. thanks -- barbara

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  7. These are beautiful and touching photos, Barbara. They show your deep love of nature...It was nice to read of your childhood in relation to wildness...Even if it is becoming more difficult to find it, you sure do seem to still connect with nature! Thank you for sharing....( the National Parks have given me, a town and city girl, wonderful experiences in nature)

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    1. Rita -- Starting over -- my machine just cut out -- hope I can get through this comment without going down again. I believe that August was the celebration of the National Parks centennial. Not only is there National parks but their are state, county, and city parks that one can observe nature. I am sure there are more that I can't think of. Plus private land if you can get permission and its not hunting season. I believe the more folks are familiar with the wild places they can visit around them the move likely they will not allow corporates to take the land away. Thanks -- barbara

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  8. Loved your post and pictures, Barbara. I am a country girl and I love wandering through the woods, too. I also love your header - beautiful picture.

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    1. Janet -- I figured that you were a country girl by your descriptions on your blog. You are fortunate to live in the country. Wandering through a woods is wonderful to observe nature. Especially if one wanders each season and observes the changes. thanks -- barbara

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  9. I was a tomboy, running the streets barefoot, exploring any wooded area I could, climbing trees, cutting and drying out gourds to hide things in, digging up grubs and bugs. I still love nature, prefer wildness to tamed areas, am in awe and appreciation of what there is to see and experience. It always boggles me that people complain about wildlife around their homes when it is the wildlife who belong there. "Man" has encroached upon their land and left them no place to go. People plant gardens and complain about deer and rabbits eating them up. If you don't want wild things eating your plants, then plant them in a secure area. Otherwise they are fair game and there should be no complaining. Wildflowers are free, colorful, beautiful - yet so many are labeled as noxious weeds, so people plant flowers and gardens that aren't native to an area and then moan when they don't do well, and complain when the weeds come back. "Man" thinks he can control everything, have everything. I know we can't keep ravaging the land for developments. My youngest son and I spent a month running around big cities this summer -- and I can for sure say what I've always known, I am not a city girl. Take me to the country where the wild things grow. :)

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  10. Wilderness works for me too....;) btw Lily left a message for Daisy.

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  11. Driving along roads of my growing years, I am struck at how the old wildness has been lost, to homes, and etc. It is so, so sad.

    There was a stretch of road, through what we then called Bear Swamp. A delightfully scary sounding area, especially at night. But now.... There is a road, of the main road, leading to McMansions, built in there.

    Did they drain the swamp? Probably. And what bear would hang around, with digging and tree felling and construction sounds?

    It feels almost hurtful... A childhood loss... Never to be reclaimed by any other children. The delight of mother, driving them, through Bear Swamp, to come home at night, to their neighboring village.

    Bahhhh-humbug...
    Luna Crone

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  12. "Lawns, landscapes, and mono-cultures..."

    All sigh-making words. :-(

    Luna Crone

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