I have sat down several times to try to write this report-back from Wild Roots Feral Futures 2012 and have found that putting such experiences into an essay while sitting in front of a computer is fairly difficult. To try to represent our time together in written word and place the experiences we had in the woods of Occupied Ute Territory (in a part now called southern “Colorado”) into the context of an article to be read on the internet by those of us living in techno-industrial society is quite a challenge, and so I begin by conceding that my efforts to describe my experiences are severely limited, more so even than the usual limitations offered by the written word.
After having to miss last year’s gathering as a result of my own poor planning I swore to myself that I would make it to Wild Roots Feral Futures 2012, so when offered the opportunity to travel with a group of anarchists heading there from Oregon I jumped on it. After about a week on the road, I arrived at the trailhead pretty exhausted and drained. The hike in, though long and hot, forced me out of my head space and into my heart space by the time I got to the encampment and met up with others in attendance. Upon arrival I was met with a calming, loving, caring, and generous presence. It was as if people had checked a lot of their baggage at the trailhead. Politics and ideology faded into the background and real, communal, lived experience took a turn at the wheel in a way that is rare in so-called radical spaces. It didn’t matter if someone was an old school Earth Firster!, DGR, anarcho-primitivist, hillbilly, or hippy. We were there to learn, to grow together, and to build a community (albeit a temporary one) and when that is really the goal, politics, economics, and ideologies have to return to their rightful place in the theoretical and the abstract.
I found that I am a completely different person in the wilderness. When I am not listening constantly to electrical hum, when I don't have to hear cars driving by or the air conditioner kicking on or the refrigerator running but instead hear the rush of the river, the call of the birds, the wind rustling through the trees... then and there I am myself. I am human. I feel parts of myself that I have rarely or never felt. I hear the forest and her children speaking to me in tones no longer silenced by the leviathan. The change I experienced, however, was not something that only changed while I was in the woods. I walked out a very different person than I was when I walked in. My time there made living in civilization intolerable to me.