Between everything that goes on in life, the wilderness teaches me more lessons than all my reading combined. Even in a metropolis, I am capable of finding my own wastelands. Unattended and forsaken, they don’t care about the haphazard fashion statements of the civilized world. On another thought, I like to identify myself with the wild. When I visit the pruned lawns of swanky localities, I smile at our planned existence. But when I cruise the wild lands, I gasp at their abandoned beauty. Its rawness pulls me in instantly.

But an urban sprawl has its own peculiarities, ones that you cannot dispense with easily. Spotting the airplane during my walk through the wild is an inevitable exercise. These man-made birds irked me quite a bit in the beginning, but as I got used to them, they became one with the other surroundings. Every time one of these cruises overheads, I am reminded of goodbyes, going away, leaving, abandoning. And that’s what the wilderness is too- abandoned. And that is also what makes it more intriguing, doesn’t it?

I always feel it’s easier to leave and abandon than to let go. Who is the loser? The one who leaves or the one who is left behind? Whatever answer you may come up with for that, there is no denying the fact that walking away is much simpler than letting go. You can even choose to walk away in your mind. Be there and still never be there. But to let go is tougher. You want to hold on to a blade of grass, a whispering leaf, brittle branches, forsaken plumes, dying suns. You wear them like oversized robes even as they turn into sun baked pieces of land. Alone is beautiful, but only when you look at it from a distance. And so, letting go becomes harder.

Coming back to the wilderness, there’s a reason why it resonates with me. The customs of the world that wish to tame me and turn me into trimmed verdant greens fail miserably. I don’t fit into their box like structures. And so, I become the wilderness which I’d rather be. Because, you know not, that a tangled, unpolished and solitary trail has perhaps the most astonishing view, one that is corrupted by your mowed lawns. The wind forgets to greet your metropolis, where carefully grown plots of seeds display impeccable etiquette. The windfalls in my way make me rather unruly. I’m aware of that. But I’d rather have my bristly hair blown by this wind than smoothen out each strand with the rich emollients you offer. Because for me, this wilderness is my soul. I have tried hard to become the Keukenhof, but that’s not me. It can never be.

For the love of the wild, I leave you with a beautiful poem titled Wilderness by Ian McCallum

It can also be read here.

Have we forgotten
that wilderness is not a place,
but a pattern of soul
where every tree, every bird and beast
is a soul maker?

Have we forgotten
that wilderness is not a place
but a moving feast of stars,
footprints, scales and beginnings?

Since when
did we become afraid of the night
and that only the bright stars count?
or that our moon is not a moon
unless it is full?

By whose command were the animals
through groping fingers,
one for each hand,
reduced to the big and little five?

Have we forgotten
that every creature is within us
carried by tides of earthly blood
and that we named them?

Have we forgotten
that wilderness is not a place
but a season …
and that we are in its
final hour?

8 thoughts on “BEING THE WILDERNESS”

  1. Beautiful words, matching very much the melancholy of “abandonment” – really liked how the poem fitted the theme but quickened up the pace, great match!

  2. This was a lovely read, Sonia. I found myself nodding in agreement at every other sentence. Although it was about wilderness, what particularly resonated with me was about walking away and letting go. Maybe due to the current state of mind.

  3. ‘Unattended and forsaken, they don’t care about the haphazard fashion statements of the civilized world’ How true, Sonia. And I loved how the wilderness reflects in you.
    Beautiful poem.

  4. I greatly enjoyed your reflection on what the wilderness means to you. I was reminded that the wilderness where I’m from was turned into farmland when the states were first settled. Now, the wilderness has reclaimed much of it. Thank you for sharing your wilderness photos and the Ian McCallum poem. I enjoyed them as well!

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