Wander the wild: bushwalk
BY: Louise Pavid
The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.
Being on foot in the wild touches a primal, ancestral and seemingly forgotten part of our human genetics. In today’s modern, fast-paced and instantly gratified lifestyle, it’s easy to neglect the places we come from. It’s easy for us to say that we invade the animals’ home when on safari, but conveniently deny that Homo sapiens were born in the wild too.
The totally immersed and connected spirit between modern human and pristine wilderness becomes almost overwhelming in the vulnerability of on-foot wanders with nothing but the clothes on your back and a litre of water. This connection not only humbles you, but sharpens your senses, opens your mind and invigorates your body.
The light touch of humid air, the warm embrace of sunny skies, and the niggling scratches of sticks and thickets are nature’s touch. Resounding bird calls, the crunch of soil under your feet and the breaking branches of surrounding trees add audible clarity and quieten down busy minds. Shifting movements, flashing colours and cascading landscapes sharpen your vision and bring attention to easily unnoticed details in the wild.
The gifts of nature spill from a myriad of natural wonders. Blue commelina flowers not only delight our eyes, but provide relief from irritation. The clear and healing liquid produced by the flower has been used for centuries as nature’s eye drops. Before pharmaceuticals, there was only the wilderness and all its secrets laid bare for us to discover.
The wild provides resources in ways that aren’t always obvious. Torchwood seeds are what sparked the iconic tree’s name. The oil contained within them burns long and slow. The flames bring with them safety, warmth and light, which are necessary for a night out in the wild.
Discovering the undiscovered is made possible only when you can take a closer look at what’s happening underfoot. Mushrooms flourish in hidden spaces, connected by a vast subterranean network called the mycorrhizal. Mycelium are the tendrilous threads of this network that reach out underground. This network is similar to the complex neural network of animals, and is the Earth’s nervous system that all plant life depends on for survival.