Wild Roots Feral Future 2014 Report Back
From Deep Green Philly
In order for us to become productive members of society, i.e, well oiled and functioning cogs in the wheels of the capitalist empire, we must undergo a compulsory process of alienation and domestication to make us docile and compliant to the demands of our future supervisors and bosses. This process begins in early childhood and continues more or less throughout our entire civilized lives. It is in part a process of forgetting, of learning to disregard our dreams and intuition and genetic memories of a time before mankind ascended the throne to lord over the rest of creation.
The myth of human centrism, that all of the world is here for our pleasure and our benefit, can only be called into question outside of the sprawling metropolises and suburbs where such ideas are constantly reinforced, often by the very landscape itself. The sanitized and domesticated landscapes created by modern industry stand in stark contrast to the wilderness, to the glorious chaos of life. The wilderness is where we find the idea of the all powerful human master called into question; it is a place we must periodically embed ourselves in to reconnect with authentic, non-synthetic reality outside of the scope of human constructs. It is a place we must visit once in a while for the perspective denied to us by human-centric, industrial society.
As someone who lives in a big city, Wild Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) has become a necessary yearly tradition, a way to retain a connection to (relatively) unspoiled wilderness and the deep human bonds such an environment fosters. WRFF is a loosely organized and decentralized gathering that takes place in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado (Ute territory). Working on less than a shoe string budget and with much of the supplies and food donated, a wonderful intentional community springs up for an all too brief period of time. Most people bring their own camping supplies and gear, but there are always extra sleeping bags and such things in case anyone needs them. Camp responsibilities are handled on a volunteer basis; everyone who wants to contribute can, and if you’re not in the mood to wash dishes, gather firewood or cook meals, there’s no pressure to.
One of the main reasons I keep coming back to WRFF is the people, the amazingly good-hearted and beautiful people. Sure, in past years there’s been some drama but it’s never really distracted me from the overall experience. The warmth, wisdom and sincerity I experience there nourishes me on a spiritual level; this gives me the strength and clarity I need to avoid falling into despair and nihilism concerning the nature of the human race. WRFF attracts a variety of people: college students, older hippies, drifters, radical faeries, liberals, anarchists, socialists, families with small children, musicians, train hoppers, activists, conservationists, farmers, and those who refuse to be categorized. The ethnic diversity is not quite what it could be, but the reasons for this are complex. I find it unfortunate that many POC have been seemingly irrevocably yoked to the city, pigeonholed into the category of permanent urban dwellers. Again, the reasons for this are complex and largely beyond our control, though hopefully this will begin to change in the near future. In any case, no matter what our backgrounds, we gather together at WRFF with our differences eclipsed by one common theme: a love for the land and a love of life.
This year was by far my favorite WRFF for several reasons. The hike in and out was so much easier than previous years; the vibe was incredibly relaxed and friendly with absolutely zero drama (at least none that I was aware of) and the location itself was just beyond magical. Mountain tops covered in pine, aspen stands and fields of dandelions, wild iris and a myriad of other wild flowers made each day like a waking dream. As always, the group discussions were thought provoking to the max, especially one we had on mental health in the context of living within a society that systematically destroys mental health. There were also primitive skills workshops, plant walks, an interesting discussion on natural child birthing, a solstice celebration, and clear guidelines for community practices and sober spaces for those who desired them. Outside of the planned activities there were plenty of opportunities to go hiking, splash around in the stream, or just lay on the soft grass underneath the sun listening to the birdsong.
As I reflect on my third year of attending this gathering, I realize how valuable the experience has been to both my personal and political development. Fireside chats under the stars with hardcore primitivists and nuclear power supporters alike have helped me broaden, sharpen and mold my own critiques of industrial society. Though we may not all agree on every single thing, simply being around like minded people with similar viewpoints is a welcome reprieve from constantly having to defend my position or either keep silent about it. Over the past few years at WRFF I have learned of struggles that I may not have come into contact with otherwise. In fact, I credit my first real introduction to indigenous solidarity to my first WRFF in 2012. It would not be an understatement to say that WRFF has been an important part of my life.
Because this year felt extra special, I must give thanks to all the wonderful people who shared time, space and food with me; thanks for all the chats, all the laughs, for all the memories. And a special thanks to those who let me practice my tarot reading skills on you – I hope it was helpful. So much love to the folks in Durango who do the hard work of scouting out locations and cleaning up after the gathering is done; thanks for all you do and for creating a space where so much magic happens. Thank you, thank you, thank you.