Wilderness, Wildness, and Trust

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by Roger Ross Gipple

Wilderness is a place and Wildness is a quality. Wilderness is finite and Wildness is infinite. Many of us who profess to love Wilderness are terrified of Wildness. Wilderness is a manifestation of Wildness. Wildness is inspirational. It is astonishing. It is unfamiliar and unpredictable. Wildness is life giving in the broadest sense, but it can also kill us. Humans have long engaged in a struggle to subdue, domesticate, and control that which is wild (self-reliant, spontaneous, self-willed, and self-regulating). Humans are the Great Domesticators. Domestication is a manifestation of fear. Fear can sometimes save us, but we are often enslaved by fear. When we enslave another we enslave ourselves. The more we attempt to control our world the more we must submit to its dominion over us; and ultimately, to the chilling realization that this process which seems so compelling is a boundary, tragically separating much of humanity from both Wilderness and Wildness. Acceptance is the opposite of fear. Acceptance means moving beyond our preconceived ideas of what should and should not be. Out of acceptance comes imagination, understanding, liberation, and Trust. This is what is meant by TRUSTING WILDNESS.