I love the word Wild. Four simple letters that touch my soul.
On a recent On Being interview with Krista Tippett, preservationist Michael McCarthy helped triangulate my joy for the word "Wild" particularly well. He pointed out that while we have in our genes 500 generations of civilization (post-farming) we have another 50,000 previous generations of “wildlife” (pre-civilization)
In his words:
“[w]e don’t think of ourselves as wildlife anymore, but we were wildlife then — and those 50,000 generations are more important for our psyches, even now, than the 500 generations of civilization which have followed the invention of farming about 12,000 years ago. So that there is a legacy deep within us, a legacy of instinct, a legacy of inherited feelings, which may lie very deep in the tissues — it may lie underneath all the parts of civilization which we are so familiar with on a daily basis, but it has not gone; that we might have left the natural world, most of us, but the natural world has not left us.”
This past Friday I dropped myself into the middle of nowhere country roads of Southern Indiana for a 50-mile bike ride through a cascade of hilly back country roads. This certainly was not the pure wildlife of pre-civilization. I was on paved and gravel roads winding through the dominion of livestock and farmland. Yet still I could still feel in my bones the imprint of the wild. No humans. No manmade polluted remnants of noise or smog. Just the buzz of the insects so loud as to deafen the occasional passerby. Surrounded by trees and rivers older than any human I alive.
This week’s joy challenge- seek to spot moments, big or small, that call you back to the great wild that lies within.