Dating feels unnatural
But by the end of the nineteenth century, all this had changed.
The wastelands that had once seemed worthless had for some people come to seem almost beyond price.
That Thoreau in 1862 could declare wildness to be the preservation of the world suggests the sea change that was going on.
It is an island in the polluted sea of urban-industrial modernity, the one place we can turn for escape from our own too-muchness.Remember this too: looking out across a desert canyon in the evening air, the only sound a lone raven calling in the distance, the rock walls dropping away into a chasm so deep that its bottom all but vanishes as you squint into the amber light of the setting sun.And this: the moment beside the trail as you sit on a sandstone ledge, your boots damp with the morning dew while you take in the rich smell of the pines, and the small red fox—or maybe for you it was a raccoon or a coyote or a deer—that suddenly ambles across your path, stopping for a long moment to gaze in your direction with cautious indifference before continuing on its way.Instead, it’s a product of that civilization, and could hardly be contaminated by the very stuff of which it is made.Wilderness hides its unnaturalness behind a mask that is all the more beguiling because it seems so natural.