Posted by: Dave Neads | August 10, 2010

Going Home

The concept of wilderness is the creation of an agrarian mind set.  Agricultural communities define lands that cannot be fenced, ploughed, or tamed to service the needs of man as useless, even threatening areas.  They are viewed as unfriendly, dangerous and need to be avoided.
If these  landscapes are to be used at all, they must first be defanged. Wolves are killed, other predators are poisoned, shot and disposed of.  Shepherds armed with the best technologies must accompany any domestic animals; sometimes dogs and horses are used as allies to keep the raw nature of the feared lands at bay.
This idea that parts of the earth where undisturbed systems interact fully are threats to our way of life is a very new idea, spawned just a few thousand years ago when agricultural societies became the prevalent culture for our ways and means of survival.
Taken in context of the last few million years of human experience and  evolution, this new thought is but a few seconds old.  It is a grand experiment with technology, a leap into unknown territory much wilder and more dangerous than any landscape that has ever existed.  We are now beginning to experience the  realities of living in this new wilderness that we have created.  Polluted water, smog alerts, declining agricultural production, dwindling food stocks in the oceans, species extinctions at a rate and scale unprecedented.  The world as modified by human intervention is not looking very good these days.  In fact, it is becoming an increasingly difficult habitat to live in.
So the question arises “what is wilderness”.  Surely if we apply the definition of being a dangerous, inhospitable place to survive, then the current human landscape fits that definition far better than anything  found in the parts of the earth where man has not yet made his mark.
For untold millennia the entirety of this planet was unmolded by human activity.  Humans evolved in this landscape.  We are natural hunter gathers, making our homes in climates from the frozen arctic to the torrid equatorial forests.  No matter where we roamed, the water was clean and pure, the air fresh and sweet smelling to breathe.  Yes, life could be dangerous, defense was needed against all manner of animals that saw us as dinner but  at the same time, we  spent several million years fitting into that scheme of life, making our way down the evolutionary path.
We are now at the fork in the road.  The philosophies and principles that brought us to this juncture no longer serve us well.  Domination, alteration on a massive scale, dumping all manner of wastes, both physical and intellectual, into the global commons is beginning to fracture our societies, forcing a restructuring of the very roots of our existence.
The rules of life here on earth are part of a much larger, ancient life force that we  have lost touch with.    All life is interdependent.  Time exists in a different reference.  Even as things change there is a harmony, a vibration of energy connecting all things from billion year old mountain ranges to the emerging  petals of a fragile blue flower, shyly posing on an ancient  gray mat of lichens.
 If you think of the earth as particular species of life in the universe, then all of the different regions on the planet are simply individual beings in the way the way a herd of caribou is composed of many different individuals. 
There used to be a large population of healthy earth species animals.   The great plains, each of the oceans, the temperate forests, the taiga, the rainforests, the jungles,  the high mountains, the deserts, the ice fields–the list of species representatives is long.  Today there are very few fully functioning species members left; only remnant populations as yet untouched, more by chance than design, still existing in parts of the planet.
Living out their long life in the way that all of earth’s life has done since the beginning, following the primordial template, interwoven, entwined in the miracle of being, alive and well, these entities have been successful survivors for millions of years and they have a lot to teach us.
The Chilcotin ARK is such a creature.   Not yet mangled by our intervention,  ARK is alive and well.  And because of that, we can learn many things from ARK.  If we are observant, if we truly want to change our foundation and understanding as to what it means to be alive here and, more importantly, to survive here beyond the mere eye blink of our history, then by being with and trying to understand ARK, we stand a chance of learning the ideas and skills to lead us down a different path.  A path into the miracle and celebration of life, a path of becoming another successful member of the species, and , like, ARK continue to be part of the Earth for millennia to come.
The principles ARK lives by are many.  As a living being ARK has all the systems we expect in a creature, yet the interactions between its parts are where we can learn what works for our own populations as we move into a new survival mode with new eyes, new understanding and new direction.
By experiencing the wondrous way in which ARK survives we can learn from this profound spirit as we emerge from the human wilderness.  As we return  to our true home, planet earth.


  1. We humans are so alienated from wilderness that we consider wilderness to be a place absent of human habitation. And, probably because we have become so alienated, most humans would set about “taming” any wilderness they found themselves in.

    Thanks for such a lucid presentation. I’ll be making a link to this post available in a few places.

    “…the interactions between its parts are where we can learn what works.” Even in my damaged and slowly recovering corner of our land, I learn that every day. I also learn that I/we have a part to play in the healing. I belong in the wilderness.

  2. Jeffery:

    Your backyard and the way you let it evolve on its own are part of the process. Healing is the right word


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: