I went for a walk yesterday, in search of wilderness.
Although we live on the edge of a small town, surrounded by gentle countryside, I still contrive to find some wilderness. It takes me about ten minutes to leave the streets and houses behind, and then I slow my pace and feel myself relax. Tensions drop away as soon as I am surrounded by trees.
There is little wilderness to be had where I walk, yet that does not mean there is none.
Hedgerows can be corridors of wilderness. Perhaps a transient wilderness, but a wilderness all the same. Many hedgerows in the British Isles are hundreds of years old, and although each individual one may be comparatively small, places within them may have been undisturbed for most of that time and during that time many species of plants have flourished there and smaller creatures made their homes.
My path goes through a thin belt of woodland, too open to be classed as a hedgerow and too open to have private, wild, places, but once I emerge into the daylight again, there is a hedgerow alongside the path. And for a short distance, the hedgerow widens several feet, and becomes a true wilderness.
Here, a patch of elder, sycamore and ash trees are surrounded by a dense undergrowth of brambles, interspersed with patches of nettles, a couple of holly bushes, and a few smaller plants squeezing into the daylight where they can.
It is the home of flies and spiders and beetles, visited while I am there by blue tits, magpies and some smaller birds I cannot identify.
Deep within it, there will be mice and shrews, and very likely larger mammals making their homes.
It is impenetrable by anyone without hacking their way in, and fortunately there is no incentive for anyone to do that.
It is wild, and I love that it is there.