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The first idea that comes to my mind whenever I hear the word wilderness is greatness. The grandeur of nature does not come from its size but also from the meaning deep inside of it. Wilderness itself contains so many mysterious aspects that humans, by just a glance, can hardly grasp its meaning thoroughly. An insight view to wilderness can help us reach the soul of nature, which is always an attraction to us.
Wilderness, physically, is where nature dominates and there is a complete absence of the existence of humans. The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines wilderness as "the tract of undeveloped federal land of primeval character and without permanent improvements or human habitation; an area where earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain; where the forces of nature predominate and the imprint of human activities is substantially unnoticeable; which provides outstanding opportunities for solitude and unconfined and primitive type of recreation." Wilderness, therefore, is untouchable and isolated. However, it does not mean that humans have nothing to do with wilderness. In contrast, wilderness has a great influence on humans' lives, whether we can notice it or not. Living in big cities most of their lives, people usually go on vacations and their favorite places to go always relate to nature such as the beaches, the mountains, the forests and so on. The love for wilderness, as a result, exists within everyone. By having a closer look at the definition of wilderness, we can see that humans are one of many factors that shape wilderness. Tracing back to the origin of men, we all know that humans have evolved from monkeys and that process happened mostly in nature. This fact partially accounts for the close relationship between men and nature. Nature has witnessed the evolution of humans since the day life began on earth. Without nature, humans would not be able to exist. With its importance, wilderness can be defined as the Great Mother of men.
On the other hand, beside the original relationship, the relationship between nature and men can be seen in other ways. Wilderness, therefore, may be defined as the place where men and nature interact. Nature has brought human beings many benefits such as food, mineral which is necessary for construction and industry, places for recreations, etc. Therefore, humans owe nature their civilization. And the result of that interaction is very valuable. Henry David Thoreau once put it "In wilderness is the preservation of the world" and he is definitely right. The value of nature cannot be seen in a short period of time in the present or in the future. In fact, its value maintains throughout generations of people. The benefits that nature has provided men are countless. Our offspring one day will be grateful for what nature has given their fathers and they can happily bequeath what their ancestors have saved for them when they interact with nature. There is one thing that our sons and we have in common. It is that we both rely on wilderness as a source of our existence. Without it, humanity will be abolished. As a result, the longer the interaction between men and nature and lasts, the more precious it becomes. Wilderness is the reflection of human's future. Whenever wilderness exists, there will be human beings.
Personally, I consider wilderness a teacher. Every time I confront wilderness, especially the sea, I feel myself so small compared to its greatness. Wilderness, as a result, teaches me a lesson about the limit of human's lives. Compared to the eternity of the sea, mankind's life is so short and limited. I therefore have a chance to explore myself, wondering what I could do and what I couldn't. I remind myself to live more responsibly. It's a process of self-realization that comes naturally from my internal perception. This teacher, therefore, is of great value. But the value of those who can change our attitude about ourselves and the world is even greater. With that perception, I realize how precious nature is. I feel the responsibility to get involved in protecting wild nature. Wilderness makes me a more responsible person not only toward nature but also in society as well. The fact that wilderness is reduced in size although there have been many bills passed to protect wild nature makes me concerned. Aldo Leopold reflected on this matter: "Wilderness is the resource which can shrink but not grow...the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the world is impossible." To me, an attempt to create "new wilderness in full sense of the world" is not only "impossible" but also meaningless. The essence of nature is natural, not artificial. We can recreate nature in some sense, but the things we make are soulless. Nature is out of humans' reach. We may read many books and watch many movies about nature to satisfy our contemporary desire for nature but the feelings we get, however, are unnatural and unreal. Only by living within nature can we truly find the feeling of being free, which is the most basically desired emotion of men. I myself, up to now, have never been able to live like that. Deep inside, I am waiting for the nature call, which with its power may change the whole course of my life. Wilderness, as a result, is my motivation, goodwill and actions.
Wilderness to me is not only a big question but also a big answer. And I will always love to find the answer for that question and figure out the question for the answer I love.