Left: Stan Herd’s rock art on the Kansas River Levee in Lawrence; photo courtesy of Kansas Geological Survey.
I live within a mile of the Kansas River. In spite of the Bowersock Dam and other infrastructure, this is a good place to connect with wildness. Walking on the levee beside the river offers a chance to watch birds soaring and fishing—great blue herons are frequently present at the river, and in winter bald eagles too.
Frequently people are making use of the water via kayak, canoe, or fishing boat. In spite of the nearby development, the river is a relatively wild place. At the other side of the broad continuum of local wild spaces are the richly-diverse Haskell-Baker Wetlands and also the expansive Clinton Lake Wildlife Area, yet there is value in every degree of wilderness.
My reflections are inspired from reading the book Wildness: Relations of People and Place. This new anthology includes creative and provocative essays, stories and poetry—it represents diverse understandings of our natural world by many highly regarded writers.