Updated: Feb 8
These days to access land without owning it you have to stay on the move. This summer I longed for intimacy with the land too much to stay behind walls. I took off in my car staying on BLM and National Forest for the allotted times. I slept on my sheepskin, nothing to separate me from the starlight all night. I dipped my hair in creeks. I filled my belly and stained my fingers with picked berries. One of my favourite spots had hills of rolling grasses. I watched for hours the patterns of the wind playing with the plants. As I walked amongst them, they resolved like dots in an impressionists painting. There were rose petals, mint and mugwort, for tea, and St. John's wort for salve. I sat with my feet in the stream, dried grasses and rushes rehydrating while I wove them into little baskets. I went to sleep with the insects and woke up with the birds.
When it was time to move on, I drove out from the hills. The wild array of entangled colours gave way to the rows of agriculture. The spiced air was replaced with the stink of rotten fruits. The horizon filled with stacks of crates outside fruit packing facilities, and tears found their way to my steering wheel.
It sunk in, in that moment how much we have forgotten and rejected the wild. It's not to say we shouldn't grow food or build houses. But our control of the land, rather than working in relationship with it, is what I would have changed.
That night I was blessed with a dream. In it I saw beneath the surface of the irrigated, rowed land, the seeds of the wild plants, just sleeping there, waiting, in each of them a dream. A dream of a fully scented, blooming, upright, bending, full expression. And the whole soil, there together, all its parts, the seeds, the fungi, the minerals, the pill bugs, that soil has a dream of a fully thriving ecosystem. If uncontrolled that dream would be expressed.
As I woke, I felt those seeds in my chest. If uncontrolled by the conditioning of our culture, who would I become? I scribbled this down on a page beside me, afraid that the feeling would wisp away with wakefulness:
"Somewhere beneath my cultured rows
My pulled weeds
My fenced possibilities
There are wild seeds sleeping
That dream of something wild and thriving."
The feeling didn't leave. It only grew. I realized what I am dedicated to in this life is those wild seeds. Until we know how to tend to the wild in us, we will try to control nature, and until we can love the wild in nature, we cannot love our own nature.