Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Poem A Day...

Why Wilderness?

Because the truth
about origins
is built on pillars

of dreams and lies,
and family is built
upon wooden planks

of blind hope, the way
a nest is built in its tree
of presumed potential.

Because a forest is the one
who teaches how to question,

a desert is the one
who embraces,

and a canyon is the one
who knows how to keep.

--Andrea Ross, 2001

A little poetry explication:

The ten years I spent searching for my birth parents coincided with the ten years I spent as a wilderness guide, living outdoors or in wild places most of the time. I'm working with this idea (and as you can see by the date on the poem, I've been working with it for quite awhile,) that this coincidence has a deeper meaning--that the need to search and the need to be in the wilderness are intertwined, and that they each inform the other in an important way. The wilderness was my "home base" while I did this scary, nebulous thing called searching for my origins. I found a lot of solace in wilderness, and the poem explores some of the reasons why.

Recently, my smart and lovely friend Tamar directed me to Gerald G. May's book, The Wisdom of Wilderness, in which he writes, " ...The primary meaning of wild is 'natural.' In turn, natural comes from the Latin nasci, meaning 'to be born.' Wilderness, then, is not only the nature you find outdoors. It can also refer to your own true Nature--the You that is closest to your birth. This inner wilderness is the untamed truth of who you really are."

Well, there you have it. Thanks, Gerald G. Mays; you've put elegantly into words what I've been inexpertly gnawing on for a decade.

I'm interested to hear from you, readers, about what wilderness does for you--are you scared of it? Do you love it? Do you feel at peace in it, or nervous? Do you avoid it, or are you drawn to it?
Does it feed you in a deep and synergistic way? If so, please try to tell us about it.


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting poem. I definitely feel at peace in the wilderness. I love to go camping and hiking and feel so refreshed when I do.

Andrea said...

Thanks for your input, Samantha!