where is the wild?

“Wilderness may temporarily dwindle, but wildness won’t go away.”

~ Gary Snyder

I have left the land for the pavement. The further south I travel, wilderness and quiet highways shed their skin for softer, less pristine, more tame islands of habitat.

Familiar places feel foreign. Streets I have driven and walked down over the years seem starker, more concrete riddled. Exhaust and dirty particles of thick, polluted air taint my hair, my skin, my clothing and penetrate my being. I feel the need to shower with every concrete city excursion.

Everything but the wilderness seems to grow larger—roads, buildings, homes, people. Birds and beast indicative of wilderness dwindle. Black bear and raven replaced by Rock pigeon and crow.

Yet wildness endures.

Scraggly plants force their way out of the ground through cracks in the concrete. Invasive plants, hardened and help bent on survival, occupy any space available, keep the more sensitive native plants at bay.

Does one grow less sensitive and more hardened with the passage of life and time in developed places? With each day traveling farther from Gustavus, I can feel myself gradually let go and accept the world as it has become in places overwhelmed by human inhabitants—toilet paper thrown carelessly into the toilet and sent traveling to an unknown destination, litter on the ground and in the trees.

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