Getting Acquainted

1st Day’s Agenda

  • Name Tents/ Random Facts (12:30-12:45)
  • Small Group Website Exploration (12:45-1:50)
  • Break (1:50-2:00)
  • Writing Invitation (2:00-2:15) :
  • What does it mean to be wild?  How do you know?
  • Wilderness Boggle (2:15-2:45)
  • Logistics for Class Trip next Wednesday to River Park North (2:45-3:15) Weather, Clothing, Daybooks, Cameras, Transportation


  • Take the following wilderness attitudes surveys.  Links will be available Wed. evening.
  • Read: “Walking” and “Living Like Weasels” available under Course Readings.  In a comment on this post, respond to the following:
    • For Thoreau, what does it mean to be wild?  And for Dillard?  How does your own definition and way of knowing compare to each of theirs? (300 word minimum).
  • By Saturday, set up your own blog, post your “What Does it Mean to Be Wild” writing invite and email me ( the url.  It should be something like “”.   I will then post all of your blog links to the course blog.
  • Between Sunday and Tuesday at midnight, go to the course blog and click on two (2) classmate’s names to read and respond (100-200 words) to their  posts.  Respond to their ideas, experiences, etc. rather than conventions of the writing, but feel free to agree, disagree, question, or make connections.
  • Next class meets at 12:30 at River Park North.

18 responses to “Getting Acquainted

  1. To Thoreau, being wild means disconnecting oneself from all worldly obligations and roaming freely through an open, uninhabited area. Personally, after reading Thoreau’s remarks on his observations of mankind’s treatment of wilderness, I think he would be thoroughly appalled at the world’s seemingly ‘slash and burn’ mentality. Thoreau perceives the wild as freedom from duties and other individuals; he finds peace in solitude. He is also extremely philosophical in his writing and interpretation. In contrast, Dillard seems to understand wilderness as a bit closer to home than Thoreau. Dillard believes the ‘wild’ can be found in a beautiful, natural setting – even if it is only a few miles from suburbia. The weasel in her writing represents a totally different way of life than what humans understand. The weasel represents undomesticated, rough, unconnected, uncontrolled existence. I really like that Dillard presents life as an option: an option to live however we please. But both authors do an excellent job of portraying a hunger for the zest, or meat, of life. In addition, both authors depict pure and true happiness as becoming simple-minded and lost in the awe of their natural surroundings. Thoreau and Dillard both agree that when they are most conscious of their portion of the universe, they are unaware of time as a measurement of life; but rather, life is measured by their experience during these moments. As an individual, I can relate more to Dillard’s perspective than that of Thoreau. I agree that we are all in search of a certain purpose and freedom from whatever bondage may hold us. And I also agree that this feeling of being ‘wild’ can be found in different places for different souls, just as it is different fro Thoreau and Dillard. I find wilderness in places that are both beautiful and isolated.

  2. The word “wild” can take on many definitions depending on the context in which it is used. If a person is described as “wild”, that person is usually thought to be unruly, crazy, or full of energy. The word takes on a whole new meaning when applied to a place or being, though, and to me this is the true definition of the word. Something wild is something pure; something that has not been touched by human society and is owned purely by nature. Many authors have attempted to write about what it means to truly be “wild”, Henry David Thoreau being a prime example of one of these authors. In his work, “Walking”, Thoreau describes the wild like I do, as a place free from society’s grasp. He goes on to say that the wilderness cannot be recreated in gardens and parks; instead it must be explored for one to truly experience it. To explore the wild, though, Thoreau says that you first must be prepared to leave all of civilization behind: your parents, your friends, your siblings, and even your spouse. There is more to being wild than just abandoning society, however. In her “Living Like Weasels” Annie Dillard presents a differing view of the wild, a view she gained from a chance encounter with a “wild” weasel. In this encounter, Dillard claims to have gone into the weasels mind and, for a brief moment, seen life through the weasel’s eyes. Although I find the notion that she physically entered a weasel’s mind far-fetched, I do believe that she experienced some sort of epiphany, and I agree with the view of the wild the epiphany left her with. Being wild, she says, means living simply…living based on need rather than desire. It means “yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of a single necessity”, with that necessity being to simply survive. To me, being wild means both of these things. To truly experience the wild, we must not only physically abandon society as Thoreau did, but mentally disassociate ourselves with everything society has taught us. We must forget what it means to want and, like the weasel, base our existence solely on the instinct to stay alive. This want, this…desire for self-improvement and validation is what makes us human, however, and for that reason I do not believe we, as people, can ever be “wild”. At one time we could satisfy our thirst for adventure with a taste of the wild by exploring it as Thoreau did, but with human civilization’s reach spreading farther and farther across the globe, areas of true wilderness are becoming extinct. Unlike Thoreau, I am unable to leave my back door, walk to the southwest, and within an hour be surrounded by virgin woodland. Instead, my experience with the wild is limited to nights spent in man-made campsites with the comfort of knowing I am just a phone call away from safety, a comfort that diminishes the rudimentary need of survival that the definition of wild is based upon. These nights of faux adventure are not enough for me, however, and after reading/skimming “Walking” I want to experience the wild as Thoreau did. I want to get lost.

  3. To Thoreau, being wild means wandering. It involves exploring the unknown. He describes the wild through walking. Not just mere walking down the street, but walking to explore the unknown land. He relates the wild to discovery, such as Christopher Columbus coming west to uncover America. Thoreau views the wild as a place to grow, by forgetting the limitations of society that may constrict valuable experiences and appreciation for the natural phenomenon in the world. There are no rights versus wrongs in the wild. Each element one crosses upon on a walk can be interpreted in various views. This uncertainty gives the wild it’s beauty: the knowledge that comes through experience and interpretation rather than a textbook or lecture. Complete wildness isn’t always attainable in Thoreau’s view, but by simply walking, exploring, and interacting with the wilderness one can broaden his or her perspectives, as well escape reality.

    Dillard views the wild as living by necessity, not by choice. It’s about finding that one passion to drive your life, and doing everything it takes to hold on to that passion or goal. Oddly enough, she realized this through an encounter with a weasel. As the weasel stared into her eyes before scurrying underneath a rosebush, Dillard realized she had no idea what thoughts were running through the weasel’s brain; nor did it matter. The weasel was wild, living as he’s meant to live for his single necessity.

    My definition of wild falls in between these two perspectives. Being wild means being involved in nature, living off the land rather than manmade fixtures of today’s society. Similar to Thoreau, I feel being wild often involves being creative and taking risks. It involves the out-of-the-box thinking that an ordinary person wouldn’t come up with. Some of these ideas may be unique and exotic, but that’s the point. A wild individual isn’t afraid to fail. With that being said, being wild often involves exciting experiences, the things that you want to tell you friends. Through these experiences, a wild person is able to find out what drives them. Like Dillard would suggest, wildness would then be about forgetting all of the manmade problems of today’s society and coming back to the single passion that makes life worth living.

    • Daniel Patteson

      I agree that being wild does not only hold a physical definition it also holds an emotional and mental one. If you are out in the wild and have left your phone but still think of playing angry birds, or harbor then you have not truly become wild. I also agree with your encouragement to think “out-of-the-box” when in the wild. Because your normal mindset was framed by society and as Dillard pointed out we normally think of what we want not what our necessities may be. I somewhat disagree that a wild individual isn’t afraid to fail. i feel that to live as a weasel lives for necessity, we must be afraid that if we don’t get our necessities then we will not survive. That is what would drive our wild behavior; surviving.

  4. Thoreau sees being wild as “absolute freedom.” He sees man as being part of nature, rather than a part of society. Thoreau uses walking as a comparison to what it means to be wild. He says walking is not just wandering around with no direction or purpose. He also states that walking is not something done just for physical exercise. Thoreau says to go forth and walk with purpose while leaving your life behind, and to seek adventure. He says we must have this free spirit to truly walk; we must go find adventure and leave society behind. This compares to Thoreau’s definition of wilderness because just as we must leave everything behind us and seek adventure while walking, being in the wilderness requires us to leave everything behind us and be free for adventure. Being wild isn’t aimlessly wandering, but being free and “unexhausted,” unlike being in society. Thoreau goes on to say that wildness is “life and strength.” He states that society is based off of the wild, and so is “civilized man” who still retains a part of wildness. In the end of the short story, Thoreau says he himself cannot grasp the full meaning of nature and being wild.
    Dillard describes being wild as mysterious and spontaneous. She basically says you never know what is going to happen in the wild. In the beginning and end she asks herself what the wild weasel is thinking. The thoughts of a weasel are mysterious, and we must observe other aspects of the weasel, such as what it eats to find out more about the animal. The wild is mysterious, and we must observe wild things, such as plants and animals to get a better understanding of the wild. In the short story the weasel startles the protagonist, and this spontaneous move was not anticipated. This shows how the wild is spontaneous, because wild things, in this case animals, can do things that are not expected.
    My definition of being wild most closely compares to that of Thoreau’s in that I also believe freedom is part of it, but I do not have a mysterious or spontaneous aspect of being wild in my definition. To me the word wild means not restrained by anything, and natural. Wild plants grow in the wilderness without being restrained by something such as civilization, and grow naturally without man-made fertilizer. Same with wild animals. Wild animals can roam freely in their habitat without being restrained by something such as a cage. Growing up in a city, the term wild and wilderness made me think of places like forest reserves where there are no houses or buildings to restrain wild plants and animals. Going into the wild meant going into the woods or somewhere open and natural without any man-made objects.

  5. Reading these two articles made me realize how many different interpretations of the word wild depending on the context of which the word is used. Although to me, only one context clearly comes to mind, and that is being detached from society and out in nature. Being wild means having no sense of which direction you are heading or where you’ll end up but knowing it’ll be okay because this is, after all, an adventure. Throughout this adventure the wind is always at your back, guiding you along. Ideally on this walk, you have the sun beaming on your face, illuminating the path before you. Knowing I’m not always that lucky, having rain is acceptable for this journey too, because the weather doesn’t affect where the journey into the wilderness will take you. Another association I make with the word wild is peace, I know this is a contradiction in itself because wild is synonymous with crazy, but being in the wild never has a time limit or a pestering task to complete. It just has peaceful serenity.
    Being wild has to do with accepting the environment you’ve been placed in. But through the process of acceptance, a feeling buds, almost as if being wild has a sensation. Being in nature, this sensation is a feeling of freedom, a feeling where I can do anything or be anyone. This feeling only surfaces, for me, when I look back on my past experiences with the wild. Growing up on a farm, the wilderness wasn’t quite around. But having my grandparents live in a forest three miles away from me was a great chance to experience the untouched wild. We always had the opportunity to go for a walk. These walks were on a natural, well-beaten path. The best days were the ones we found old arrowheads and fossils. Those items always seemed to embody the word wild. The arrows, used by the Indians that inhabited the woods long before us, were little signs that they were wild. Without our modern society, the Indians lived much like the weasel does in Annie Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels”. They were living off their instincts. Finding the fossils enhanced the signs of wild because I was able to connect that most fossils were there before the Indians, this forest had been as wild as it would every be when those animals roamed that same ground. During my childhood, we would make up stories that coincided with what we had found, usually along the lines of dinosaurs roaming the woods. Or with all the arrows, there was usually a war that had broken out. We never looked for the logically explanations of old reptiles and hunting for food, but that was because society hadn’t yet influence our imaginations. The combination of these memories helps to enhance my working definition of wild.
    Comparing my definition to Thoreau, there are many similarities including both being outside and having the break from society. My definition aligns greatly with Thoreau’s because walking in land that hasn’t been messed with is what I associate my grandmother’s land with in the forest. Thoreau associates walking with being a part of nature, and not a part of society. When he goes on these walks is his chance to break from society’s rules and regulations, heading to a richer and not exhausted earth. Thoreau’s definition of wild includes heading forward into the land of the unknown. Wild is seen as “the preservation of the World”, which is where we, civilizations, gather our strength from being a part of nature. But Thoreau’s problem with the ever expanding societies are they pull us away from nature because society is expanding to the west, where there’s forests, futures and adventures that await exploration. He also feels we need a wild knowledge, which I interpret as a form of common sense.
    Annie Dillard’s definition of wilderness doesn’t exactly mesh as well with my definition except when I have found fossils or something along that line. Through the creation of a story to describe the found fossil is only when I feel as if I have had a touch of being in a forbidden place that was wild. Dillard’s definition of wild is through her experience of being attached to that weasel for the sixty seconds they shared and to live by necessity. She felt she was in a forbidden place that was wild. The weasels brain was “uncollected, unconnected, loose leaf and blown.” Dillard went into the wild to forget about everyday tasks because we as humans lived by choice. But part of being a wild animal was living on necessity, living based on their instincts. We as humans have lost touch with our instincts. According to Dillard, if we wanted to have a chance at being wild, we would have to leave behind what society has taught us.

  6. Thoreau and Dillard have similar definitions of being wild: as the ability to be completely separate from the obligations of the modern world. Dillard states, in her envious description of the weasel’s ability to be wild, depicts being wild as “something of mindlessness, something of the purity of living in the physical sense and the dignity of living without bias or motive.” One of my favorite statements from Thoreau states “How near to good what is wild!” “No wealth can buy the requisite leisure, freedom, and independence, which are the capital” in a life submerged in the wild.
    Neither Dillard nor Thoreau falsely believes themselves to be truly wild; they both embrace the fact that they are still trapped by society’s obligations but express a desire to take life by the throat, so to speak. Thoreau in particular describes how difficult it is to completely focus his thoughts into the wild, as his mind wanders to other concerns while he is in the wild. Thoreau has contempt for the structure of modern society: “the best part of the land is not private property…I can easily walk ten, fifteen, twenty, any number of miles…without going by any house, without crossing a road except where the fox and the mink do…there are square miles in my vicinity which have no inhabitant…I am pleased to see how little place they occupy in the landscape;” yet he openly admits that he is not truly wild.
    I share a similar opinion of the wilderness as Thoreau. In Thoreau’s mind, the west and the wilderness are synonymous. While I do not necessarily view the literal “west” as the wilderness (obviously, the modern west is just as civilized as the east), I like his ideal of moving away from the roots of development and expansion and into untamed land. We certainly agree on becoming wild as the only way of being completely free, but admit that it is a difficult endeavor to reach a state of being truly wild.

  7. To Dillard, the wild can be found literally 5 minutes from your home, smack dab in the middle of suburbia. She was stunned however at seeing at weasel out in the open, so close to the cars and society.This is where she saw into a “weasel’s mind” and truly saw wild nature. The weasel has the knowledge of being free and wild, but once Dillard was to experience that same knowledge she understood that anyone has the capability to live in the wild. That “we can live any way we want” and in her case to live and be wild like the weasel.
    To Thoreau, the wild is not something that can be found 5 minutes from your home, but rather something you must search for and something you must feel and experience inside. This type of wild is true freedom from society and the demands of life. Thoreau continually experienced this wildness, by “walking”. He is not in a rush or walking to get to a certain place, but rather to clear his mind and feel nature’s true beauty. He also says that to go on a “walk”, that you must be ready to break all ties to your house, job, wife, and children. This is the only way to truly experience an empty mind to create room for this freedom.
    Although Dillard and Thoreau achieve this wildness and freedom in different manners, they both view being wild as freedom in life or to be unattached from everything, to only rely on yourself and the land. I believe that in a way both Dillard and Thoreau achieve describing wild as the freedom from everything and anything that could be distracting and pulling you from the demands of life. I agree more strongly on Thoreau’s view on the wild because I don’t believe that you could truly experience the wild 5 minutes from your home. I believe that is deeper than that. You must rely solely on the land and offer yourself up completely to anything that could happen. Only then could you be classified as wild and be completely free.

    • Daniel Patteson

      I disagree that Dillard said she had found wild 5 minutes from home. I interpreted that she had seen a wild being mentally in the weasel, that still thrived regardless of the highway, houses, or dirt bikes nearby. Dillard said the weasel lived his life based on the necessities it had. She goes on to say that we live life off the wants that we have. So i do agree that nowhere can you find a truly wild environment five minutes from anything today. But i do agree that you can find a wild being within this location. Although i do admit there is no way to know if the being truly is wild minded because some part of society could have easily effected its physical, mental or emotional attitude.

  8. Thoreau’s most definitive definition of nature, which I assume we are to correlate with our definition of wild, is “for absolute Freedom and Wildness.” He wishes to convey that all men are wild in a way, rather than static, boring members of society. The idea that I most like is his metaphor for the west and east. I agree that we as a society should face forward, be progressive and prepare for the future. However, later in his essay, he states that if you’re going to “walk” right, you have to “leave everything behind and submit fully to the experience.” This I disagree with. You need to know what you have learned in order to successfully get to where you’re going. I think those two points are very contradictory. However, Thoreau and I share a foundation in the fact that being wild doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in a desolate place with no contact to civilization.
    I really liked Dillard’s definition of wild. She wasn’t exactly seeking to define it, but through her experience with the weasel, she determined what being “wild” is. I think that she most justly defines it when she uses the word “mindlessness.” She continues using the words “purity…and dignity of living without bias or motive.” To me, this is spot on. This weasel kills its prey going for the jugular, and you may think that this is cruel. But, in reality, is this not the most compassionate way to kill something if you NEED to do so, rather than letting the poor mouse suffer? Dillard sees this weasel, and in their eye-contact and breaching of one another’s brain, she finds nothing. I believe she is saying that being wild means being free of thought, because isn’t thinking where a lot of domesticated humans go wrong? If I had the chance to re-write my definition of wild, I would definitely incorporate most of her descriptions. It also makes me more excited to take this class and determine things like that for myself.

  9. A vast majority of the citizens of the United States of America are not wild in my eyes. To me being wild is about being independent of today’s technology in your day to day life. I am not saying that I am wild because I use my cell phone, laptop and air conditioning daily but those who are wild can survive fine without them. They may or may not enjoy life in the wild but it is solely them and the wilderness. They don’t need any sort of device to enjoy themselves. I feel this way because when i was a child I didn’t need anything. Our dad would let us outside for countless hours and we would just explore, climb and sometimes even dig all throughout our property . We never dreamed of needing technology. The most wild people live in the most undeveloped countries today and do all they can to survive. I have never felt truly wild nor have i ever seen a truly wild person. A truly wild person can live solely off the land. Thoreau’s interprets the wild as being untouched by modern society. He describes it as being more west where the wilderness has been less tampered with, but in today’s society how can we find the west? I do not know if we can find a place on earth that is untouched by society. Thoreau points out that parks, and reservations are NOT wild because they have been placed there by today’s society and are influenced by the touch of society around it. “The weasel lives in necessity and we live in choice” was the quote that best summed up Annie Dillard’s writing. She sees wilderness as a form of thinking and behaving. She was surrounded by community homes, highways and dirt bike paths on all sides but she saw the weasel as wild because he “[lived] in necessity.”

  10. I can agree with points from both Dillard and Thoreau’s writings on the wild. Dillard uses an example of a time she encountered a weasel to illustrate what she believes to be an accurate depiction of what makes something or someone wild. She states that wild beings possess a sort of “mindlessness, something of the purity of living in the physical sense and the dignity of living without bias or motive.” Wild things are untouched by judgments and criticisms. Her biggest point on which she ends asserts that we must live as any way we want, as we were meant to be, without the restraints of society. The point that we should live any way we want is a belief that I also share—that wild things do not have to follow specific rules, whether from the government or from society.

    When I read Thoreau’s “Walking,” I think that he would have been an opponent of technology. His writing talks about how someone can only be connected with nature if they are disconnected from what is man-made. He also makes a great point about “the best part of the land is not private property; the landscape is not owned, and the walker enjoys comparative freedom.” Nature is not exclusive, and the Earth is not owned by any one person or group of people. He mentions that when the land is “partitioned off into so-called pleasure grounds,” it will, essentially, no longer be wild and will therefore not bring the joy it should to its inhabitants. Although I did not completely mention Thoreau’s points in my own free write about what makes something or someone wild, I agree that being wild means being free and inclusive—free to roam the lands and do as use please with every other living thing. I somewhat agree that one must be disconnected from what is man-made because I think that one can be free to do as he or she pleases and include other people whether or not they inhabit a man-made house or other structure.
    – Erika Dietrick

  11. For Thoreau being wild means to forgot about normal humanly problems and explore the wilderness with a means to reach man’s unlimited potential. Experiencing what is in the wild teaches the person lessons and skills that cannot be learned through regular means. It is being uninhibited and not knowing what lies ahead, and being able to walk for miles without contact with civilization. Living like the animals do in the forest and trying to understand the myth that is the wilderness.
    For Dillard this sense of wild is slightly different. In her narrative she experienced what wild was from a short distance from her suburban household. To her being wild is being simplistic, living off of necessity instead of wants. The state of a wild being is to be simple-minded, calm-headed, and free. The purity and craving for simplicity brings the same type of cleanliness from societies problems that Thoreau experienced. By having this emptiness of thought, one can share the intimacy of being wild with other creatures.
    To be wild means to revert back to animalistic behavior; whether that means acting rashly and freely at a party or cohabitating when in the environment, each is part of defining wild. For example, when someone acts rashly in situations, the normal interpretation for this is being wild. The problem with this association is that animals in nature do not act recklessly all of the time; depending on their temperament and the situation, most animals are calm and mainly focus on their basic needs. That is why I think that the more appropriate definition for wild would be acting in a way that mainly focuses on innate needs; this would include needs for food, water, shelter, communication, reproduction, and safety. My own definition shares closely with Dillard because we both agree with the association of being wild and focusing on needs, but I agree with Thoreau that to truly experience nature one has to be far away from society.
    I obtained this definition of wild by comparing my experiences in society and in nature. In society I have experienced the typical definition of wild from general observation. As far as the common side of wild, I observed this through backpacking and camping across the entire United States and by sailing in the Bahamas.

  12. In Annie Dillard’s, Living Like Weasels, she understands wild to be an animal-like construct of the mind. In this, there is no order, rhyme, or reason and things just happen as they naturally would have instead of being planned. This reading was most in line with my own construct of the word “wild” and I found it interesting how it varied drastically with Thoreau’s viewpoint. In Walking, wild is associated with the West. This meaning that no one has disturbed the perfection that comes when civilization is nowhere in sight. Thoreau’s ideas develop to be somewhat congruent with my own. He mentions that regardless of how domesticated and civilized we have become, we retain some feral and animal-like traits at all times. With this, I immediately pictured business men and women changing from business suits into Tarzan-like loin cloths. In this picture, I understand what Thoreau is trying to explain. This reverts us back to Dillard’s idea of “weasel-ness,” if you will. We become like animals searching for the closest food source and forget how to be civilized. In regards to the walking portion of Thoreau’s writing, this is where I enjoyed having a mental vacation. He began to talk about walking because that is what our legs are meant to do but more importantly, one can find a home anywhere. This is interesting and comforting to me because it shows that we are able to utilize the wilderness and the land in general as a way to take care of our needs. Thoreau encourages mankind to leave the wilderness as untouched as possible because over time we have created a wilderness that has become “tame and cheap.” This allows me to sympathize with him because we are forced to breathe polluted air, drive faster, less fuel efficient cars, and to move through life as fast as possible. I believe Thoreau is fighting for a better preservation of the wilderness because that is the only place we can truly be human.

    Meredith Haney

  13. For Thoreau, being wild is being free from society’s constraints. He believes that man can only be free by exploring the wild and discovering its wonders. Quite simply, Thoreau advocates that people should treat a walk in the wild as an adventure, and seize the opportunity to experience the freedom an adventure can bring. Annie Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels” presents a slightly different view of what it means to be wild and free. She believes that the freedom the wild gives is freedom from desires. The desire for a new house, new clothes, or even a new job is meaningless in the wild, where need is the only true motivator. Anne Dillard posits that humans spend too much time focused on items they want, rather than necessities, or as Baloo in The Jungle Book puts it, the “Bear necessities.” The definition of the wild that is most similar to my own is certainly Thoreau’s, as I also view the wild as a place where one can be truly free of society’s restrictions. I also feel that both Thoreau and I both came by our ways of knowing in similar ways. My definition of the wild is based by my experiences hiking through various parks, much in the same way that Thoreau’s way of knowing came through his walks. While Thoreau’s definition of the wild is very similar to mine, Anne Dillard’s definition showed me a completely new way to think about the wild. While I certainly thought of being wild as being uninhibited, I did not think of it as being uninhibited by desires. Dillard’s viewpoint makes sense, and is a very interesting way to look at the wild. While I cannot exactly identify with Dillard’s way of knowing as I have never been inside the mind of a weasel, I do understand her attention to animals and the way they act. Even the multitude of squirrels here on campus are fascinating creatures, and it is very interesting to see the way in which they have adapted to their environment. If Dillard can come up with such an interesting theory just by observing weasels, perhaps we can do the same by observing the squirrels and other wildlife around us.

  14. For Thoreau, the world is more than just society. It’s nature. We are part of nature and the wilderness, not just society, and because of this, being wild should be instinctive.
    Walking is a beautiful thing to do; peaceful and surrounded by nature, walking is better than sitting inside in a business suit doing paperwork. Walking should be an adventure, not to be burdened down with relationships, worries, or stress. I feel like Thoreau’s concept of walking is a lot like the Hobbit. Walking is a way to preserve your emotions and health. By ridding the body of unwanted stress, walking in nature is healing. In society, you see businessmen, politics, schools, and manufacturing…in nature and wilderness you see animal tracks and wonderful landscape.
    Looking west means looking towards the future. When America was first discovered, it was settled in the east, with massive landscape in the west to imagine the future. The east was already developed and polluted. The east is known for its history and intellect, whereas the west contains adventures to the hopes and dreams for the future.
    Dillard views humans as connected with the wilderness.
    Nature is depicted as so beautifully simple whereas today’s society is so busy, hectic, and complex.
    We have the option to live how we want. We don’t have to have the busy, hectic, and complex lifestyle. We can be like the weasel that lives in touch with nature, a simple life, whose only real stresses are from the destruction caused by society…like beer cans and motorcycle tracks.
    In both of these readings, the authors used the words, wilderness and nature, interchangeably. When I think of wild, I think of animalistic behaviors, against social standards. I think of crazed and scary monsters and my little cousin who runs around screaming with no thought to anyone else. To me, wilderness is just a lack of civilization.
    On the other hand, nature is beautiful, simple and peaceful. When I think of nature, I think of mountains, rivers, fields and forests, and the weasel in “Living Like Weasels.” In nature, I stand so still and quiet so I can hear the beauty of the sounds of rushing water, the slight breeze, and scurrying little animals. As cliché as it sounds, I actually smell the flowers. I feel connected to nature, like Thoreau and Dillard.

  15. The writings we were asked to read presented two different views of the wild and how to experience it. Thoreau’s view of the wild was anything away from society and its polluted state. During his time period the only place that could be considered wild was the west. It was out of reach from the taint of society. The west was large and far from civilized. According to Thoreau we need to get away from the vast reach of mankind and experience the true purity of nature. Thoreau also stated that we must walk through nature in order to experience it fully. We must view every moment of our walk as a new adventure and then simply move on to the next one that is sure to be waiting for us.
    Annie Dillard has a different approach to experiencing nature. The size is not important according to Dillard. Where it is found isn’t an issue either. It can be as close to home as the puddle in our back yard or as far as the tip of Mount Everest. Dillard’s views on experiencing nature also differs on the aspect of how. According to Dillard we can experience nature by simply sitting and watching. We can watch and analyze the life around us. I agree with Dillard on her views. I believe that we can have a connection with the wild without having to go search for an untouched place on this earth. Because let’s be honest, that’s hard to find.
    The aspect in which they eventually come to agree upon is the animal-like characteristics and mindset that we continue to have no matter how civilized we become. This is an interesting concept and one that I fully agree with. I am not one to just have the sudden urge to leave the comforts of my life to go camping. Once I am out and moving or even just sitting and watching I feel strangely at home. I guess that’s just nature’s way though isn’t it?

  16. Thoreau sees the concept of wild as almost a personal calling to the universe. He uses the act of walking as a device for translating how important it is to throw oneself into the moment, into the wilderness and away from the grasp of society. He remarks on his knowing of only a few people who understand the true importance of walking, then goes to show why walking is so important. To Thoreau, walking is the best way to appreciate the wild; he states, “Every walk is a sort of crusade…to go forth and conquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels”. This is his way of showing that we all have a call to action to get out and experience nature by regaining respect and gratitude for the ‘Holy Land’. The ‘Holy Land’ could easily be seen as wilderness. Thoreau even goes to say that he cannot see himself being healthy without spending at least FOUR HOURS meandering around the woods and away from society! This is a lot of time, but what do you think your perception of society and/or work would be like if you spend that large of a portion in connection with nature? I feel that my perception of people would change altogether, for the better. In sum, Thoreau implies that walking is absolutely necessary for a better lifestyle. He is appalled at the act of dormancy and complacency. He even goes to say that he is surprised that those who sit all day do not commit suicide! How extreme, yet eloquent and (sadly) accurate.

    On the other hand, Annie Dillard sees the wild as more of a liberating sanctuary. She defines the wild as a place to free oneself from the power of desire- that gnawing feeling that tells us we need more and more on a regular basis. Whether it be food, love or power, we all desire something many times over the course of our day. She uses the weasel as a definition of the wild. She comments on the weasels free spirited yet determined attitude to survive as the quintessential description of what it means to be wild. I believe this definition applies to any animal or plant free from society’s constraints; therefore, the weasel is just one of the many wild things. Dillard draws a comparison to our lives as overwhelming and far too orchestrated by saying that the free and wild weasel simply does not worry about the things we worry about. The weasel does not need to leave his legacy. Like Dillard says, the weasels tracks in the clay or his leftover meal is the only legacy he needs to leave.

    I agree very much with Annie Dillard’s definition of wild. I believe that regardless of where one is, one can experience the wild by simply disconnecting themselves from the binds of society and groupthink and (most importantly) transcending the barriers of ordinary consciousness to gain an enlightened perspective of existence.

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