Aldo Leopold said that land yields a cultural harvest. He said that wilderness is the source from which civilization has been constructed. He said, “The rich diversity of the world’s cultures reflects a corresponding diversity in the wilds that gave them birth.”
Wilderness and culture mingle in relationship, a stew of elements and artifice simmering together full of taste and nourishment.
Here’s the thing: There are lots of ways of being a human in relationship to wildness. And some of those ways may seem more authentic than others, more worthy, more effective. But the relationship is the point. Wilderness engagement is a picnic, not a competition.
You don’t have to know all the names of the trees, or experience all the summits, or raft down the fiercest rivers to engage wildness today.
I’m not good with chopsticks. I do my best with chopsticks, but sometimes I use a fork, or even my fingers. Whatever I need to do to experience the joy of the meal and set the food off on its journey of metabolization.
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac