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What is Wild?

From Orion, a thoughtful conversation between MIchael Pollan and William Cronon about the "blurry boundary" between the cultivated and the wild.

Quotes (from Michael Pollan):

"...I started out steeped in the nature ideas of Thoreau, Emerson, John Muir, and that whole wonderful nineteenth-century tradition that found a measure of wisdom in wild nature. I wrote a master’s thesis on Thoreau, and did a lot of writing on Emerson, and just love those ideas to my bones. But for me, they rubbed up against some practical experience in the garden—that if you believe our relationship with other species can be completely harmonious, you’re not going to be a very successful gardener. If you believe with Emerson, for example, that a weed is just a defect of human perception, you’re going to find yourself with a very weedy garden. You’re not going to harvest much of anything. Thoreau found this out when he planted his bean field; he tried to garden in keeping with his ideas, but couldn’t fit his head around the notion that he had any more right to his beans than the birds did."

"...one of the reasons people like nature, and read about nature, and write poetry about nature, is expressly to escape history. It’s the non messy place, or so it seems, the place where we look for a standard that isn’t contaminated by human desires and foibles. We want a place that isn’t about us."