Cody Heneghan: The Redefinition of Wild

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Our courageous group has entered the last leg of our trip. To plunge into the depths of dark canyon and see what wonders await us among the canyon walls. Whenever I am about to go into the back country I always ask myself this one question. Where will the wild things be? During the earlier sections I was very disappointed because I felt I was in a barren landscape. However I was not looking deep enough into the layers that surrounded me. Life blossomed just not in a form I was very familiar with. There were strange noises in the night I had not yet familiarized myself with. How a strange almost technologic beeping noise was really a pigmy owl. How bears and coyotes left perfect tracks in untrammeled sand.  These realizations begged me to dig deeper and discover the intricacies of how this natural landscape functioned.

What I found led to me formulating a prognosis of thought. In fact I am not surrounded by wild things out in the back country. In fact the group is the wild things themselves. Strange bipedal creatures gallivanting through the home of the bobcat, goat frog and golden eagle that have not been seen in these wooded depths consistently for years.  Only a few brave members of our society still undergo journeying into these “wild” lands. They are generous enough to share their experience and love for these places with eager students. However it is only after a novice eye, ear, hand and nose is entrenched in these surroundings for days on end that one begins to learn their place while visiting another’s home.

As a civilization we for the majority of our existence did not think of these places as “wild” they were considered home as part of our natural range. This reveals an interesting shift in values. At what point in time did our society lose its affinity for open spaces and settle for tight uniform, controllable quadrants? How can we as a society continue to move forward but give these marvelous landscapes the respect they rightful deserve. For they nurtured us, imparted its lessons and knowledge upon us so that we could thrive as a species.  This is why I urge everyone reading this to reexamine their definition of wild. Instead of looking at this term as a place examine it in terms of several of it synonyms such as insane, strange, bizarre and extravagant.

Nature is an aspect of life that we will never be able to fully control. But it is something we can understand very well. With this understanding of how the great system around us functions we can understand what permanently damages its integrity and what actions bolster its processes. For nature and the systems within that term are indifferent to our survival and existence. Only our civilization can guarantee our prolonged beneficial relationship with the earth. So let us reexamine what is truly “wild” or beyond belief. Living in a place where everything one uses needs to be brought and delivered to them is a wild concept. Using materials that only foster inactivity and degrade the system is a wild concept. Not eating food that will ensure your happiness and health over the longest period of time is a wild concept. The list goes on and on and I invite you to explore what was once our home because it is out there just as beautiful and silent as ever.

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