The Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers' collective would like to encourage attendees and participants in this year's WRFF to write and submit report-backs about your experiences in the woods, good and bad. You can publish them on your own websites if you have them, or just send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (be sure to let us know if you'd like it kept private and confidential or published publicly).
Here's another such report-back from raven0us:
osha flavored lips spill toxins on the breathing, sweating pines
My son was set to arrive on the 14th and he was equally excited to
rewild with his friends and family; flora, fauna and feral folks alike.
He is 5 and last year he lead his own thorough bug walk (promising to
even offer zebras if he could conjure them up). There was a significant
amount of trouble with his flights and it was projected that he would
return Wednesday the 20th instead. His absence was a difficult reality
for me to swallow. He had been in Japan with his father since the
previous year’s WWFF and many of us were eager for his return. I was met
by those who knew my son and I with compassionate loving arms. Many,
though unsure how, were ready to support me through the extra days
without my little animal.
Then I saw the young folk, so many more than last year! There was
even a 3 month old bundle of wild. It was like in 80′s movies when one
person comes around the corner at the big climax and then slowly after a
whole group shows up with raging music and your blood flows, except
instead of cheesy clothes and absent-minded culture there were pine
tress and our youth in the least polluted environment most of us have
Over the first few days I oscillated between immense joy, stimulation
and complexity and heart-crushing longing, feeling as though my womb
was empty and sick and paranoia that I was not relatable. I arrived
after reading books on the pervasiveness of it all(oppression,
repression and pollution) and feeling it sticky on my one on one
interactions. I walk through each day wondering how resisting or at
least deconstructing this culture isn’t the norm. I wonder how and why I
feel pressured to glorify the military or buy things or eat junk. When
each societal honorable action leaves guilt prints on my dreams I can’t
look my loved ones in the eyes anymore. The forest does it’s best to
back me/us. I found some balance beside the hodge-podge tribe that was
coming to fruition around me. In an attempt to resciprocate the balance,
I spent much of my time and energy attempting to support
infrastructure. There is always dish buckets to change out, grey water
holes and poopers to dig and miscellaneous trash to pick up. I missed
many of the practical workshops because my heart was all but absent.
Many times I just sat and stared at the tops of the old pine trees. They
swayed in a rhythm native to my homeostasis. They rocked me and
Wednesday morning when the time came to get my son, I suddenly
realized I was not alone in my oscillation. People I knew well and
hearts I had grown close to quickly were also side tracked. There seemed
a universal distraction and inability to focus or feel in step despite
all the magic flowing through us. I thought of the fires raging all
around us and I wondered if we could all feel the discomfort of the
burn, the inability to self regulate. I wondered if we were personifying
the forest or just finally, partially back in tune with the extended
pieces of our bodies, this earth. On the way to the river for our daily
group jumps into the cool, crisp river my eyes rolled in boiling seas of
heat. I closed them to douse the fire but I couldn’t. Rage seeped from
me and I cried, helpless. I wanted my son and I wanted him to know this
land. Somewhere in me I already knew his flight had not worked out. I
felt the distance from him in my bones and my body ached. Three friends
very dear to me were at the river bank beside me. One offered me a piece
of Osha and said, “Here. Chew this. This is what the bears eat when
they wake from hibernation. It clears the fog.” I chewed it and returned
to the city to hear the news. I was right, Jordan was still in Japan.
On the way back into the forest I hiked alone. I nearly jogged and
let my eyes drain down my cheeks. My pace met the gait of the rocks. I
chased the sun set trying to make it to the women’s circle scheduled at
sundown. Along the way I acknowledged that being fully present for the
remainder of the week was the best I could do for my son and myself. My
lungs began to feel more full and I arrived back to the clearing. Some
already knew my son was not with me, they met me with hugs, sincerity
and optimism. In a world that has forgotten how to value mothering, I
had been braced for heavy judgement. There was none.
Since WRFF is an autonomous gathering dependent on initiative, there
was a circle every morning to add a little form to function. This year
many of the circles contained the internalized fire’s unpredictability.
Continuity of intent among the group seemed rare but relevant. Some
wanted the meetings to speed up while others felt silenced by the rush.
The group decided on designating the main camp fire area a sober space.
There was no drinking and no smoking in the circle. This created a new
campfire dynamic and some were given the opportunity to relearn how to
socialize without vices. There were several amazing skill shares and
plant walks that came up each day.
There was also discussions, discussions that almost never have space
in our common lives. There was a radical parenting talk that created
commonalities and regrounded many including myself. Things I had been
reiterating in my community that made me feel like a broken record were
brought up by other parents without me voicing them. It made me feel
more sane but the universal nature of the concerns also made them feel
more heavy. I was having trouble putting these commonalities
together. It felt necessary, more so past due, to map a plan or create
helpful hints for communities of resistance to not only include younger
folks in holistic ways but also make space to take their lead more to
have them part of decision making. There was one family who had a lot
of positive experiential allyship to tell about. I listened and wondered
how much I was not letting support in or if the fact that they had both
of the parents on the same page helped. I acknowledged that no matter
what them talking positively of their support group actively made their
support network more strong. I thought of the balance between optimism
and criticism, between satiety and desire.
I found a lot of personal space for intimate conversations around
open relationships. I connected with others who were struggling to
decode liberated sexuality. I haven’t found the words for the pieces yet
but I am little bit closer.
Then there was chaos day.
After feral decision-making, it was decided that solstice was to be
chaos day. To me, it was shocking and a bit refreshing that such a
decision was reached. After all of the theory and process that
accumulates in radical culture it sometimes feels necessary to pull the
rug out and see what intuition has to say, to trust ourselves. It was a
bit of a challenge that chaos day also fell on the day we processed two
goats as well as set up a ritual to celebrate the solstice.
I feel as though this resynched our steps or at least mine. Solstice
happened. Ritual and chaos happened. Offense happened beside growth.
Fear met dialogue.
The next day we reconvened around what it means to transgress and
fail and how many different people’s healing can happen beside each
There was a group talk about how some duties with the goat and the
rituals went well and how some could have been seen as disrespectful.
It was decided that there would be a people of color fish bowl.
For me, this was one of the most profound discussions of the week.
People of color sat in the center and were the only ones allowed to
speak until they felt ready to open the circle for discussion. From
living in Denver for a couple of years, this was not a totally new
experience for me but I have rarely seen such a discussion feel
respectful. The facilitation of this dialogue was heart-felt and
empowering. The discussion was long but did not feel overdone in any
sense. Color, race, ethnicity is one of our most programmed divides. It
is so pervasively unconscious at this point in our culture and it takes a
lot to face ourselves in these conversations. It is hard to keep the
courage to stay motivated to continue the conversation. Colonization
ties the topic to our land bases, rights and resources. Genocide can be
tasted just bringing the topic up. I sat and listened, fully present and
endlessly thankful for the voices speaking. I felt almost unjustifiably
honored to hear the testimonies and the strength. I felt torn inside as
I always do in these fish bowls. Beside voices of praxis and
excitement, voices of selfishness and insecurity spoke up in my head
screaming, “Wait, no. I am not who you are talking about. I am not
racist. I do x,y and z to make sure. You aren’t seeing my whole self!” I
stopped in my head at “whole self” and I thought of how often the
people in the circle get to be seen as a whole self. I ruminated on the
turmoil inside of my stomach and I wondered how much each of them felt
their identities being shoved back down their throat. We all know the
feeling at least a little, but it is far out of balance. My guilt
disintegrated in a way because I saw a new way I could own my part. I
could feel that with them for a moment and truly listen. Like all cycles
of renewal, it was my time to feel it, to maybe balance the weight just
a little. We discussed some of the offenses of the ritual and I
realized that my path of healing is going to rub rough against people
with different backgrounds, ancestors and upbringings but that I can’t
stop trying my best. I can be conscious and accountable and move forward
in new ways.
We talked a lot about allyship. I thought about how people ally with
me as a single mother/communal mother. I thought about the times I could
have been more thankful for people’s efforts. Wild Roots Feral Futures
is the most allyship I have felt as a single mother, hands down.
Allyship is extremely situational and we have to all be open to receive
it and open to failing when we give it. When we are criticized in our
attempts, we have to be ready to say, “I hear you” and mean it. We have
to be ready to try again.
The wilderness let us in to reunite with our wild. To inspire us
to rejoin it. It wasn’t asking me to protect it as much as it was asking
me to heal to be strong to fight beside all of the interconnected
pieces of it. All effective action stems from solid affinity. Affinity
grows through allyship. Resistance is often compiled of theory and
propaganda, rarely is it so personal and palpable as what unfolded
during this week.
Since the encampment I have been viewing through a finer tuned lens. I
have traveled this country a lot over the last couple years and I have
not found a group of peers like the friendships I have built in the
forest. The environment, sparkling in the dust of the heat, interacted
in our process by shedding a couple of layers of built up anxiety. I
return to the city and each year I feel the grease of industrialism
building up on my gears. I feel my heart and mind dulling under the
routine. I have a comparison of relief to contrast my tension and I
resent the destruction of our healing spaces more.
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