I have been reading a lot of environmentalist and nature books over the last few years and one common theme comes up; ‘wilderness’ is said to be a necessity to humanity.

There is a lot of talk about what it is to be human, the spirit of the human being.

How people often feel a need to shake off their ‘civilisation’ and bask in some ‘wild’ land ‘away from it all.’

I can’t help but agree with the sentiments, and I’ve used this naturalist trope often myself in my writing, particularly in some of my poems. For example, I have a poem titled Beneath our civility a wry grin.

But I confess to a conflicted, contradictory feeling too.

It all sounds well and good, poetic and spiritual, almost, yet the supposed ‘civilised’ sectors of land that we have separated off from the ‘wilds’ is not just a luxury for those of us who have disabilities.
Our civilised cities and towns are akin to life support, rather than just a convenience to those of us more vulnerable to the cold, less mobile homosapiens.

So when I read this common theme and initially nod along in wholehearted agreement, and love writing about this theme myself. I read in these words, initial inspiration, hope and strength. Until I remember my fate, it feels as if I’m reading my own erasure and that there is always a shadow inside me reading on and thinking, ‘wait, stop! Temper your enthusiasm! What does this mean for you?’

And then comes the big sigh of resignation that I can’t be the people I read about. And the idea that wilderness is necessary for humanity becomes, ‘the wilderness is necessary for the homosapiens that can.’

For those of us who can’t, it’s only a dream. Perhaps a necessary one. But a dream nonetheless.


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