The Practice of the Wild is a book by the great American poet Gary Snyder. I started reading it yesterday and instantly knew I was loving it. This one is prose, not poetry, but what an eloquent and wise man Gary Snyder is.
Thoreau says “give me a wilderness no civilization can endure.” That’s not difficult to find. It is harder to imagine a civilization that wilderness can endure, yet this is just what we must try to do. Wildness is not just the “preservation of the world,” it is the world.
The Chinese spoke of the “four dignities” – Standing, Lying, Sitting, and Walking. They are “dignities” in that they are ways of being fully ourselves, at home in our bodies, in their fundamental modes. I think many of us wold consider it quite marvelous if we could set out on foot again, with a little inn or a clean camp available every ten or so miles and no threat from traffic, to travel across a large landscape – all of China, all of Europe. That’s the way to see the world: in our own bodies.