Wild Writing

An Observational Science

Venturing into the natural habitat is in sense an act of escapism for me, especially in seeking tranquility from today’s hectic urban demands. What better way to relay your thoughts and observations of the natural world than by putting these visual notes and experiences down on paper. Nature writing is about the writer as well as about the natural world, and is exploratory as well as reflective. If you try to delve a little deeper, then Don Scheese has a great book called Nature writing: the pastoral impulse in America and in there is some thought provoking information and definitions. Scheese describes the place to which nature writers escape is a problem fraught with ethnocentric implications. He then goes on to say that the wild or wilderness is a traditional designation meaning land unaffected by humans. He goes on to say that nature writing in a sense is a descendent from other literary forms, it emphasises natural history for it’s scientific bent (the attempt to explain the workings of the physical universe over time); spatial autobiography, for it’s account of the growth and maturation of the self in interaction with the forces of the world; and travel writing (including the literature of exploration and discovery), for its tracing of a physical movement from place to place and recording of observations of both new and familiar phenomena.

In This Incomperable Lande: A Book of American Nature Writing, Thomas Lyon proposes that nature writing “encompasses a spectrum of different types of works, ranging from those that place primary emphasis on natural history facts (such as field guides) to those in which philosophical interpretations predominate. Some of the subcategories he identifies include natural history essays, rambles, essays of solitude or escape, and travel and adventure writing” (Wikipedia, 2011).

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