Illustration by Nathaniel Russell. Screenprinted in NY, NY on 18x24" 270 gsm acid-free paper.
This is a print to celebrate and congratulate Wilderness. Congratulations Wilderness. Congratulations Wilderness for being just what you are, not that you need our gratitude. You would be better off without us anyway, the conscious, self-righteous/self-loathing, needy us. You would even be better off without the fawning, in awe, perpetually blissed-out us, the enlightened us, the elevated us. You would just be better off without us, without our tents, our non-motorized vehicles, our horses, our campfire rings, and our buried feces, you would still be you, an even better, cleaner, you, you would be Wilderness just as you were meant to be, absent the blight of consciousness, the acne of sentience.
You don’t need us, that is a fact, and that ability to go it alone, to exist outside of all of our mess is something that, deep down in our souls, we all fully admire about you.
Unfortunately for you Wilderness, you don’t have a choice; you see, there are a ton of us out here. From your perspective we must all pretty much look the same, like a bleak, never-ending field of untrodden snow, but we, each one of us, believes ourselves to special, that we are each a unique snowflake, falling through the atmosphere of life on an individual path of discovery and enlightenment, wanting and consuming the world's bounty pell-mell.
But that’s on us Wilderness, that’s our deal. You get to be the rock, the obelisk, the forever unchanging. Because you are not just a physical place, some cordoned off piece of land that forbids reckless four-wheeling or motorized chainsawing, you are an inaccessible but wholly desirable state to which our minds our drawn. You are Eden before the apple, the land before time, the cause to our effect. We can never understand you, not with this damned language/culture/society business in the way. You are unattainable and wholly desirable and for this we celebrate you. One day we may walk back into the garden and shed all this refuse, but that’s unlikely. What is likely is that we will carry on the way we do, manipulating and crafting our personal trajectories, from time to time doing our best to mimic our idea of you. Wilderness you will carry on without us, exactly the way you have always done.
This print then isn’t for you at all Wilderness. It for us, as a reminder of what is out there, what exists beyond our understanding, what can’t be known, yet demands our attention, our intimate awareness. So we are going to allow ourselves to celebrate you Wilderness, by hanging this captivating honorarium designed by Nathaniel Russell on the walls of our offices, our tool sheds, our kitchens, and our babies rooms. We are going to be inspired by our idea of you, even though you may not care for us one way or another, because Wilderness, like it or not, that's who we are and this is what we do.