Because the universe is the source and home of all energies, all spiritual connections, and all magic—and because the earth is our home within the universe—and because earth-based cultures are the most magical—and because we as humans were more mythic when we were wilder, I work to get wild, stay wild, and rewild.
To rewild means to return ourselves to the wildness from which we came and to reattach with deeper bonds to our planet. Rewilding means decolonizing the Western mind, deciding to become native to place again.
The wildness comes in the form of a genius—sometimes a gushing flow, sometimes a trickle, and sometimes nothing at all—that shows up as creativity, animation, meaning, and energy. I am not saying that it always arrives, only that I am always inviting it in.
In writing rewilding means the same, decolonizing the Western mind and becoming native to place. I am constantly rewilding my work so that I can harvest the abundance that the nonlocal realm offers.
I explored these ideas with a class that consisted mostly of environmental writers. In a brainstorm I asked how they rewild. The list they created was powerful on its own, and now I have added a few ideas that others have sent me. The items on the list are in no particular order.
I purposefully strand myself in a cabin with no running water or electricity.
I swim in a river, especially when I first arrive to a place.
I spend lots of time walking and running, exploring back alleys and far trails.
I expose myself to the elements.
I get lost.
I watch birds.
I do something physically strenuous.
I eat organically.
I forage and wildcraft.
I try something I didn’t think I could do.
I walk barefoot.
I try to find something I probably cannot find.
I lie prostrate with my nose and my hands on the earth.
I celebrate earth holidays like solstice.
I move my body.
I identify trees and plants.
I practice naturalism, meaning I stay outside naked.
I swim until I’m tired.
I touch trees and bushes and flowers as I walk past.
I eat something really delicious.
I talk to a stranger.
I turn inward instead of outward.
Or I do the opposite.
I pet a toad.
I ask the earth for guidance.
I sleep in bear country.
I know the tides.
I take risks.
I go outside and look up at the night sky.
I learn the names of the constellations, planets, and stars.
I greet the creatures around me.
I whistle back to the birds.
I talk to plants.
I surround myself with natural textiles.
I eat seasonally.
I shop at the farmers market.
I cook using whole foods.
I build fires and cook over them.
I disconnect from the digital world.
I rely on plants for medicine and guidance.
I grow herbs.
I dry herbs to make teas.
I drink mugwort tea before bed.
I make ancient herbal beers.
I do psychedelics.
I ground, my bare feet and sometimes my entire body against the earth.
I wear leather-soled shoes.
I make notes of phenology—when flowers are blooming, birds are migrating, and so forth.
I read field guides.
I keep a phenology notebook.
I sleep on the ground.
I sit under a tree.
I climb trees.
I identify wildflowers and trees.
I study animal tracks.
I take field notes on animal behavior.
I have sex outdoors.
I learn birdsong.
I collect things from nature without doing harm—dropped feathers or small stones.
I sleep outside.
Please Add to the List
If you can think of something not on this list, would you add it in the comments?
Crumbstarz for the photograph taken in early morning March light at the old mill on Slaughter Creek in Tattnall County, Georgia.