It is this longing that is calling me out of my home and onto a train to Brighton most weekends this winter. Every evening at dusk, starlings are gathering in their liquid mass above the remnants of West Pier before swooping down to the rafters to roost.
For me, wildness is both this untamed nature and the human experience our encounter with it provokes.
There is much that could be said about how little, if any, of the world these days is actually untamed. Human hands have touched most of it. But this feeling of wildness is alive in me now, and it doesn’t want to be abstracted, dissected or solved.
It wants to be felt, and acted on.
I pick up my pace – everything in me craning towards the cacophony of whirling birds. Reaching the water’s edge I stop abruptly and look down: I’m not feathered nor finned, I am land-bound.
The wild flings me to my knees and from my upturned face flow salty tears and pillow talk. The water and words sweep upwards in gusts to swirl with black beings until, with the last glimmer of light, the birds drop like stones and disappear among the corroded remains.
Experiences like this have convinced me to lead my workshops in the wildest places available. Maybe they have been visited by countless people but mostly our intervention has been sensitive. Wildness, in these places, is easier to spot.
In a neglected wood, an oak’s branches twist and turn and lie where they fall. Moss grows thick and deep. A myriad of creatures move in. And we are lured in too – drawn off the mud path to run our hand over cushiony greenness, duck under silk bridges and meet the brown eyes, just for an instant, between the trees.
Spending time in places where life is allowed to unfold – whether it’s a forgotten forest or starling-filled skies – our human minds and bodies too can release. Enchanted, our self-consciousness recedes like the tide and we are free to respond spontaneously to the world around us.
So seek out the wild for yourself. Leave behind manicured parks and seafront deckchairs; head for the entangled wood and sea-carved crag. These places will reverberate in the dark chambers of your body calling up your inherent wildness.