“Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
– Terry Tempest Williams
I sat on a slope facing south-west, the sun behind me strobing rays of heat into my back while my legs were covered in shade. Grasses, thick and tufty, spilled over moss-covered rocks beside me, and a scattering of wild-flowers added stipple-dots of colour among the cross hatching of greenery. All around me were Milkmaids and Blue Stars, Creeping Bossia and Twining Fringe-lily, and a solitary specimen of Donkey Orchid waved gently in the breeze.
Below me was a valley surrounded on three sides by hills, but its fourth side was open and stretched out to the sea, although I couldn’t see the water from where I sat. Gusts of wind were periodically surging from the north behind me, sounding like waves gathering momentum before they crashed upon the shore. When they arrived, all around me the grasses moved and swayed in unison and currents of air swirled around my face in all directions, as though I was sitting in front of an oscillating fan.
I sat there and listened to the wind as it swished through the tree-canopy, and the noise of the leaves brushing against each other sounded like someone shaking a baton of crepe-paper streamers. Above me, the sky was a lazy mid-blue and blotches of white cloud looked like they had been dabbed on with a big, soft-bristled brush. Light fell through the trees in long, gauzy curtains, and the air was thick with the smell of adventure.
In my stillness, I felt malleable and transparent yet firmly grounded, as though roots extended through my feet and into the very earth beneath me. And in that moment I felt, even in my humanness, an integral part of the landscape.
I stood, with arms outstretched and turned clockwise, in a full-circle to embrace the sun from the east, the valley to the south, shadows to the west and the wind from the north. I absorbed each element slowly and deliberately, as though for the first time, and let their very essence wash over me and soak into my pores, until I felt they had become a part of me.
And when I was done, I asked myself how I felt and the answer came thundering back at me, whole-heartedly and unashamedly. I was in love; in love with the landscape and everything in it, in love with the wide open space and the forest of trees, in love with the bigness of sky and the depth of the earth stretching way down beneath me. But most of all, I was in love with the wild; its un-tameness, its unruliness, its rawness and beauty, its grandeur and robustness, and how it made me feel to be a human among it all.