“By ‘wilderness’ I want to mean, not just a set of endangered spaces, but capacity of all things to elude the mind’s appropriation. The tools retain a vestige of wilderness is especially evident when we think of their existence in time and eventual graduation from utility: breakdown. To what degree do we own our houses, hammers, dogs? Beyond that line lies wilderness. We probably experience its presence most often in the negative as dry rot in the basement, a splintered handle, or shit on the carpet. But there is also the sudden angle of perception, the phenomena surprise which constitutes the sharpened moments of haiku and imagism. The coat hanger asks a questions; the armchair is suddenly crouched: in such defamiliarizations, often arranged by art, we encounter the momentary circumvention of the mind’s categories to glimpse some thing’s autonomy — its rawness, its duende, its alien being.” (21)
The independence of “domesticated” living things always startles me. In only five hours Bartholomew became a far more complex individual (as witnessed by the photo from this morning).
25 September 2008 ~ St. Catharines
McKay, Don. “Baler Twine.” Vis à Vis: Field Notes on Poetry & Wilderness. Wolfville: Gaspereau Press, 2001. 15-33.