And if the secret heart stays secret and our work is made no easier, I for one will keep working for wildness day by day – Gary Snyder (The Practice of the Wild, 1990, p. 5).
I am writing on the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, and, today, the whole earth and all human beings, all creatures, are confronted by the Covid-19 pandemic. When asked by Arden Henley if I was interested in guest editing an issue of the Reader, the virus and this declared pandemic had yet to occur. The pandemic has taught me to be even more aware and attentive to our tenuous existence upon earth, highlighting impermanence. Physical distancing practices have punctuated how being human involves relational experiencing of others’ in close proximity, the beauty and solace of touch, of tactile connection.
I was delighted with Arden’s inquiry, envisaging this issue being centered around place, homeland, eco-poetics, ethno-poetics, and geo-poetic and geo-political narratives pertaining to lessons the earth may teach us; articulating what may be learned and experienced from attending to the wisdom and knowledge of elders, be they Indigenous elders referenced in Adrian’s piece, our poetic elder, Gary Snyder discussed in Scott’s piece, the poets of Cascadia noted by Trevor, the solo experience and visioning persons’ may discover being initiated into the wild as observed by Tara, and the exquisiteness of bearing witness to a marvelous ecological niche, as articulated in Brian’s piece.
Contributors gathered here share a heartfelt reverence for the sanctity and teachings of the earth, and the imperative of interpersonal, relational, connections required in cultivating homelands and fomenting sustainable communities. All contributors share an abiding concern for environmental considerations, activism of various kinds, including expressions of solidarity with Indigenous water and land protector initiatives. All have been involved with mentoring, teaching, and guiding others’, initiating others into the wild, and raising an ecological consciousness, and a poetics of resistance against crass commercialism and materialism.
It was a joy to have collaborated with all gathered here. Connections: I first met Trevor in 1985 at a poetics workshop with Allen Ginsberg, organized by the original Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior photographer, Rex Weyler, at what was then simply known as Hollyhock Farm, on Cortez Island. I’ve known Adrian all his life, as he is my son. Adrian and Scott have homes on Cortez. Scott and I began cultivating a friendship in the early 90’s, recognizing an affinity for poetry, poetics and postmodern psychotherapeutic ideas and practices. Tara and Brian were both originally graduate students of both Scott and myself. Tara and Brian regularly co-facilitate meditation and wilding experiences with Scott. Connections, interconnections, shared meanings and collective hope. Fight the power, with compassion!
Be safe, be well…
Three days ago, six Sea Lions off Bonniebrook Beach
day before that, Otter sunning on a rock
day before that, Eagle with a fish in its talons,
circled by gulls crows raven…
may the earth and all creatures
continue to enchant
and nurture, re-source, our bodies and souls,
igniting our imaginations
Colin James Sanders
Earth Day 2020
Gibsons, British Columbia