My mum, a physicist, married a meteorologist, who was obsessed with hurricanes and so the first years of my childhood were spent in Florida. What I remember all takes place outside. The changing light. Seasons of wet and dry. Heat and humidity. Thunderstorms. Lightning. Hurricanes. Cyclones. Torrential rain. The Everglades. Tropical wetlands shaped by fire and water. Sawgrass prairies. Cypress swamps. Pine trees. Avocados, oranges, mangos, limes.
Catching snapping turtles with my dad on the lakes. Fishing for bluegills. Red-throated anole lizards that changed color in your hands. Blue land crabs scuttling in the garden. Baby turtles hatching on the full moon. Crocodiles lurking in the canals. Frogs. Snakes. Insects. Oh, so many insects. Fireflies! Swamp cicadas. Treehoppers. Praying mantis. Beetles. Mosquitos. Cockroaches. Butterflies. Wasps. Ants.
All these I loved and more.
But then our family returned to Britain. It was a rough transition. I couldn’t relate to the land. It wasn’t wild enough. It was tame. Managed and manicured. We were inside a lot.
Not long after, technology exploded into our lives. Television, computer games, mobile phones. All of these devices deepened my disconnect from the natural world. School and peer pressure followed. Being a nature nerd wasn’t socially acceptable.
I never lost my love of the wild, but it took about 20 years for me to recover something of the deep nature connection I had as a young child. The journey has been long, arduous and painful.
Painful, because to be awake and alive to the beauty of the natural world, is to be awake and alive to the destruction of that world. As Aldo Leopold said: “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”
The web of life is unraveling at a rapid pace. We are breaking the spider threads that weave us together. We are killing the planet, and in the process we are killing ourselves. All of us are complicit in this murder, to one degree or another. Each and every one of us has a moral obligation, a responsibility, to wake up to this reality and do everything we can to fight for what we love, to fight for life. To reweave the web of life.
This blog is about restoring the wilderness and the wild, both within ourselves and in the outer landscapes of the natural world. It is an invitation to unplug from industrial civilization, to wake up to our animal selves. It is a call to undomesticate. To rewild. To enter into a reciprocal relationship with the living Earth. To be wild awake.