We have always had reluctance to see a tract of land which is empty of men as anything but a void. The “waste howling wilderness” of Deuteronomy is typical. The Oxford Dictionary defines wilderness as wild or uncultivated land which is occupied “only” by wild animals. Places not used by us are “wastes.” Areas not occupied by us are “desolate.” Could the desolation be in the soul of man?
Jack Turner On Our Lost Intimacy With The Natural World
One of my essays starts: “My cabin is located next to a stream that runs through a meadow, but it is not on any map.” It’s not on a map because the places I’ve lived and loved are labeled with my own names: Where Rio chases her stick. Rio’s favorite pool. Where Rio ran into the bear. It’s a private mapping, a personal geography projected onto the land. It requires a long time living in one place and studying its plants and animals. If you follow them and their lives, you gain a deeper sense of home.
Emotion creates more emotion, and one need not be a Freudian to see that early loves have long, potent causal histories. We come to love before we come to hate, and their loyal metamorphoses and transformations of fear and refuge, rage and consolation, create hard boundaries for the self. I do not believe I would hate zoos if I had not seen that streak, the sand off the paws, the stretch, the long tail. Running through the chaparral with my Fox Sterlingworth that evening long ago, I fell in love.
The seizure raged for another twenty minutes. As I leaned on the edge of the hospital bed next to Calvin, I wished I could feel his pain for him. The emergency medications appeared to have failed my boy. His fingers, toes, and lips were the color of plums, his oxygen-deprived skin ashen.