Quotes: The Long Shore: A Psychological Experience of the Wilderness

IMG_2567Wheelwright, J. (1991). The Long Shore: A Psychological Experience of the Wilderness. San Francisco: Random House, Inc.

And so we proceeded in the delicate business of finding out how we valued each other. The key to this was that the context of the ranch gave us a naturalness … I felt that the ranch was mother to us both, giving us an opportunity to explore each other as peers, as siblings, as women together. xiv Lynda

An unmothered child, as both my mother and I were, will tend to turn elsewhere–to another adult, to peers, to animals, to a place–for his or her security. “Archetype” refers to a suprahuman representation of a human experience, an impersonal and collective symbol of meaning. xv Lynda

Perhaps is has taken loss after loss of wilderness territories, with the constant threat of losing it all, to give us all a chance to discover its value. xvi Lynda

An imprisoning power was in the land. p13 Lynda

Land is many times more binding than a parent, although its binding effect occurs in something of the same pattern. … I was faced with having to recapture, or pull up for the first time, a sense of the land’s significance–in my language, to coax back its spirit, if possible. p. 16 Jane

In my encounters with the mesas in January 1962, messages from the land itself, emerging in what I wrote then, were telling me that here was my living home and my real parent, even my excuse for living. p 21 Jane

Was this attraction the key to the origin of the human self-center, without which man is only a rootless poor thing? Was I discovering that our great Earth Mother, concentrated as a total force in every small plot as well as in every great estate, had bound us with an umbilical cord without our knowledge? p 24 Jane

The devil himself was ensconced in paradise. p 24 Jane

Our moral obligation should have been to save our lands from industry. p24 Jane

Aesthetics were being subordinated to the need of survival and in their function had become more aesthetic. p27 Jane

This total disregard for out native predecessors was, I had always felt, a symptom of some disenchantment with some aspect of ourselves, the invaders. p28 Jane

This experience, which I call “merging,” is the heart of my relationship with the wilderness. p 35 Lynda

The wild will not be captured, at least not by man. p40 Jane

Possession is possible only in one’s own changing–in the realization of one’s achieved difference. Change comes insofar as you are possessed by nature, as I was possessed this day hy her colors. p 45 Jane

How often does one have to go through the sense of loss, I wondered, to make it one’s own in order to grow beyond it? p 49 Jane

The ecologists say: if wilderness goes, man goes. Are they perhaps unknowingly referring to this psychic layer in humans?… IN that case, if we do not honor and experience the wilderness outwardly, we cannot find that inward healing, balancing level in ourselves. The resulting imbalance will doom us. p 50 Jane

Like a tree, we must have roots or die–if not physically, at least spiritually. In psychology, maintaining balance has been termed “resolving the opposites”; as far as I can see the same goes for finding a balance between the experiences of city and nature. p51 Jane

Everyone knows that mature, including humans, can be ruthless, but we may not all agree on how to live with that fact. p61 Lynda

The ruthlessness of ranch and wilderness life is neither good nor bad itself; it is good or bad according to the individual’s experience of it. p62 Lynda

Eventually I realized that, first as a child in the wilderness and then as an adult, I had learned “both sides”–ruthlessness and empathy – that it is necessary to be able to “hold the opposites,” choosing between the who if I must, but never denying the value of the opposite. p 63 Lynda

Magic is not to be owned or imprisoned or trapped or domesticated or improved upon. By it’s nature, it is fleeting and momentary, in the offering, forever returning but never stating. p 70 Jane

What I lost was a feeling of being undefined, of being relaxed into myself. I could assume my truest form–a fluidity–on the ranch. p 76 Lynda

The ego has to do with the conduct of one’s daily life as it moves from birth to maturity to death. The Self, on the other hand, has to do with one’s link to life as it continues, transcending these daily issues. p77 Lynda

The unbounded aspect of the wilderness permits us to stretch to our fullest dimensions. Moving through it provides experiences of superseding presumed limitations of courage, stamina, and strength. p78 Lynda

The buying of land is a contradiction to the infinity of nature and the Self. p. 80 Lynda

The Self cannot be defined, drawn, captured in any way; that is the whole point of the concept. We can be captured by the Self, however, and there is a real danger in that, as my mother and I experienced when we realized we were losing the ranch.If the manifestation of the Self dies, whether it be land, a powerful parent, a career, or some other form, the individual contained in it can die too. p 81 Lynda

It seems to me that owning land is not the nest way to merge with nature and the Self. Far more valuable are the great wilderness areas of the world… the spirit can expand forever in a place without fences, roads, or people. p.81 Lynda

Fire is wonderful and terrible, But the effects of fire are only terrible. p85 Lynda

The fact of the wildfire in our Sierra foothill region made our subsequent moving away from there much easier. p86 Lynda

It is fear of fire, rather than the possibility of a water shortage, that disturbs me when there is a drought. And I know that the worry has everything to do with feeling, once again, that nature owns me and can wipe out my small power. Once again, the ego, the individual, must pay its respects t the overarching command of the Self and of nature, which mirrors it. p 89 Lynda

In the process, I was getting a feeling of well-being and satisfaction on a larger scale, as happens to the artist or scientist who is compelled to create. That the creative act could bring about stability was not a new idea, But I was finding out firsthand who they knew and experienced. One inevitably repeats patterns of life. p 137 Jane

Internalizing what formula had been “out there,” whether animal or essence or power or creativity can feel like an audacity or a taboo. It is no wonder that an awkward feeling of shame or guilt can accompany such a process. p 139 Jane

Artist have always known about beauty. p. 142 Jane

Ego, as far as I can see, is not part of county people’s arsenal, especially in their dealings with other. p 152 Jane

Somehow, having Juno (an animal) as my mediator, I could experience unity with nature and at the same time know my disjunction from it. p 156 Lynda

For me the wilderness, and especially the ranch in its overarching power, embodies the sacred, awe-inspiring source from which comes the reason to live and create. p 157 Lynda

Sighting an animal in the early days was much like receiving dream messages is for me now. The animals, like dreams, seemed to reveal themselves for a purpose. p162 Jane

Symbiosis with the environment, such as my mother and I had with the ranch, has been called “participation mystique.” In this form of symbiosis, we become one with our settings-people, place, and animals. p166 Lynda

Merger with the wilderness is an experience of the Self in its largest sense… Life is loved to its fullest when experienced in both realms, hard as it may be to move back and forth between them. p 179 Lynda

If I were not so utterly torn between my hunger for the wilderness and me relish for the city, I would not be compelled to participate in the effort to understand. p 185 Lynda

We need to merge with the whole environment, whether it is experienced through immersion in the wilderness, in intimacy with the process of the psyche as found in the sanctity of the psychologist’s consulting room, or in the container for the heart and soul that a church or temple can provide. p 187 Lynda

For me the wilderness has several components. These components are what make up my memories of the ranch: the sense of infinity; the natural elements of dirt, vegetation, and animals; and the cyclical processes of season, birth, and death. p 200 Lynda

I need freedom from supervision, observation, and protection too, even though I become anxious as a result. I want to be unremarkable in that terrain, just another part of it. p 201 Lynda

I believe that each person discovers his or her own way to relate to the wilderness. But I believe we all share in our need for access to our idea of the wilderness in order to keep our souls nourished. p 201 Lynda

The phenomenon of consciousness is remarkable; we humans have taken the gifts of adaptability, curiosity, daring, and cognition and built remarkable systems with which to interact with our environment. In order to protect our creativity, we need now to honor the great resource that was our first mother: our wilderness. p 202 Lynda