This is my first 'proper' grown-up book. My other 9 titles written over the last 10 years or so, while broadly on the same topic, they were at a different end of the spectrum. Most of them were aimed at the most important folk on earth, the young 'un's; and were more practical manuals, aimed at helping to empower and set a young curious unfettered mind on a journey that might (with a little luck, and mentoring) turn the reader into an environmentally aware, and ecologically sympathetic individual.
This book is a bit more personal. An insight into my own philosophy and why connectivity to nature matters and is relevant to us all. It's a book that was very much born of a time. A time when, talk of bringing Beaver, Lynx and even Wolf isn't as odd as it was, say twenty years ago, but let's make it clear - this is not a book directly about this subject. Having seen the ridiculous sensational headlines that spring up around such subject matter, I found myself shouting at the radio, or the newspaper in my hand, how can many of these opinions even exist, unless the folk making them had never really experienced a connection, a value that a natural place can have without it having to fulfil some kind of ecosystem service or line some pocket, purse or bank account. Simultaneously we live in a world where to go into a forest, we need to be taught in a forest school (I don't have an issue with forest schools, just the fact we even need them is what irks me). Still, we continue to sign up to the very Victorian and out-dated view that nature is something to be controlled and tamed, we've simply lost our natural tolerance. Repeatedly I'm bombarded with examples of our disconnection and intolerance of things which to me are part of the holistic beauty of a world we should be part of, not fighting against. Whether it's worm casts on the lawn, wasps in the attic, birds or bats with the audacity to dare nest on our own homes or a family of slow-worms killed because they were misidentified as Adders and then the Adders that were correctly identified, but killed all the same because of the irrational and completely unjustified perceived risk of being bitten (I'm getting a little ranty now, so shall stop - but you get the idea). As a species, we're losing the plot, and ourselves.
I spend a lot of my time, working with folk who simply don't notice things, cannot work their ears or drive their eyes, in fact, use their senses in a way that seems natural and instinctive to me. While I'm no nature guru, and I don't want to be preachy - it worries me that nowadays I increasingly have to 'teach' people to see, hear, touch, feel and taste their way around their world - I think this and our odd relationship with nature are connected.
Originally I was asked to write a book on foraging, and nature skills and rewilding in a more 'popular' or 'unpopular sense' but this quickly turned into something else. How can a person even contemplate a Lynx running wild in the woods or a beaver sluicing around a water course if we cannot fully appreciate what this means? - I don't mean the usual justifications for ReWilding but the less obvious ones, that involve the hidden value, not just the ecological function but the spiritual connection too, something that is vital and often overlooked completely. Similarly, how can we begin to forage without being aware of the more subtle nuances of smell, taste, appearance and feel of a leaf or fungus?
This book is about reconnecting to the things that bring a quality to life
It's a bio-inclusive idea - to understand that for example a Lynx introduced to a place it hasn't been for some time may lead to an increase in birdsong, means you need to be able to hear that music and indeed appreciate not only its context and meaning but it's incalculable worth. In short allowing the joy, it can bring to be aware of these things in the first place. My argument is that ReWilding starts in the head, our attitude to nature needs to change and the first step is to connect to it and find the wonder, I very much hope that this book may help you do just this.
You can pre-order your copy by clicking here → ReWild on Amazon
As ever, I would be very pleased to hear what you may think and welcome your feedback @bugboybaker