The Wild

“Modern maps have an odd characteristic. They never show wildness. They cannot show it, for they are implacably opposed to it. Maps are cages in which to imprison wild land. Maps put wildness in chains of measurement, corral it till its wildness dies. ..Cartography hunts down wildness, tracking nature in the cross-hairs of the grid, shooting it like an animal and pinning the parched dried skin up on the wall; the map is the ultimate hunting trophy..

There is a perfection to maps. Land is perfected, over finished, and there is no life left in it. But wildness slips away, swims through the net of the map. The wild world is simply too wonderfully four-dimensional to be caught. Waterwild, especially, is unmappable and flows through the grasping fingers of mapmakers. You may net the world in grids of latitude, but you will never net the water..”

Jay Griffiths [pp 224-232, and p 230 especially, ‘Wild, An Elemental Journey’, 2008]