We all like to be in control, but wildness is not to be feared but embraced. Where does my wildness lay? Is there room for it in my life? Can I nurture it? or do I try to tame it?
This question reminded of that great thought in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia:
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” … I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.
This thought has stuck with me and guided me through many faith transitions. It is good to know that God is wild, beyond my control, and yet always good. So when I see those expressions of faith that claim to tame him, control him, or place their own “badness” onto him I tend to lead with skepticism. This has led me to explore paths of faith expression until I settled in the Anglican Communion.
Here I find enough wildness and enough structure to make me comfortably uncomfortable. We are always challenged to “live into our baptism” and we never shy away from the hard issues. There is grace enough for conflicting conclusions, so long as we all agree that Jesus points the way to God. Kyrie Eleison!
This idea of wildness and of being comfortably uncomfortable allows me the freedom to make somewhat unconventional choices for our lives, our home, and our property. As a family we have almost 5 acres and a small-ish home to tend and keep.
We’ve done things like allowing the majority of the land to grow up through wildness into woods. We have paths through the property and we try to limit human incursion to those paths. We use the acre set aside for people and garden as smartly and intensively as we can. We compost religiously. We do (and will) raise our animals, not for food, but for manure production (and in the case of chickens, for eggs). Due to wild animals, and packs of domestic dogs, we won’t free-range or pasture for our animals, so we will do our best to mimic that freedom in safe conditions. We have a vegetable garden, fruit garden, and fruit/nut trees scattered around. We have a pool for keeping cool in the summer, and use downed trees to heat our home in the winter. Michael has dug a system of trenches and cisterns to help the land drain better and to store water for the dry months (garden only). Our new animal enclosures will all have their own rainwater collection system built right into the design. I have been slowing adding pollinator, butterfly, and hummingbird gardens closer to the house.
Our pup Jasper is another area of wildness in our lives. He isn’t particularly well-trained, but he is affectionate, friendly, and generally well-behaved. He is, however, all dog and loves nothing more than to run through the property sniffing, peeing, barking, and letting the wind ruffle his hair. He “commands” the front yard (the human used area) from a perch built onto the front deck. He brings us such joy and laughter as we watch his antics.
I also love to feed and watch the birds at a bird feeder. I hope to bring more wildness closer to the house by increasing the bird feeders and types of feed available next winter. And bees! I’d love to add a couple of hives (we have wild honey bees on the property).