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Micro Narrative
A Sibling of Wilderness
Jane McQuitty
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In North America, the classic voice of colonial peoples’ connectedness to nature and a wellspring of distinct new identity has been the romantic individualist writing of affinity for wilderness. The truth is, however, that wilderness account makes North Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders culturally blind to an emerging split between wilderness as a land management concept and the state of the wild characteristic of the lands near the cities where 80 percent of us now live. To say land is wilderness, one has to imagine a static systemic context creating conditions that, if it were not for the colonizing project of land conversion, population implantation, mineral exploitation, the land would forever reflect. What about land that runs away from past colonial domestications? What about land that has hybridized with colonial escapee species? Thoroughly worked over lands are fallow on the edges of cities, and new kinds of wilds are emerging upon them. Let me propose that the time is ripe for the sibling of wilderness and for cultural forms exploring and reflecting its stories, for how can you preserve what you cannot name or the culture has never helped you to categorize?

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