Introduction: Wonderground Issue Two
‘Not to find one’s way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance – nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city – as one loses oneself in a forest – that calls for quite a different schooling.’
– Walter Benjamin
Rebecca Solnit, in A Field Guide to Getting Lost, suggests there are two definitions of loss. To lose an object, a person, a place. A literal disappearance. Or to lose yourself, which is less about deficiency and more about surrender, about being with what is unknown, unknowable mysterious. This is not always an easy landscape to traverse, because it means relinquishing ideas of control. But what is found might be worth it. ‘Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world,’ Henry David Thoreau writes in Walden, ‘do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.’
Here we are. Somewhere in-between lost and found, exploring Thoreau’s infinite extent of relations. Issue Two of Wonderground has emerged amid the hazy landscape of COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney, Australia. It has come together in a way that is increasingly familiar. Me here, you there, words flying in from the other side of the world, or just down the road. It feels something like a borderless, boundaryless cloud, hovering in the air above my tiny studio next to the river. It is my responsibility, and privilege, to somehow tether it to the ground. Shape it into a form that makes sense.
Wonderground is a journal of writing about the connections between people, plants and place. It is a publication that exists to connect hearts to soil, through story. The stories in issue two of Wonderground achieve this, exploring notions of lost and found in ways that are profound, poetic and occasionally mad. It is with great pride, and hope, that I share them with you.
There is phrase that has followed me around as I’ve worked on this issue. A sentence, penned by Robin Wall Kimmerer, that goes a long way towards articulating the underpinnings of Wonderground Issue Two. It is short, simple, and perhaps all that needs to be said. This: ‘The land knows you, even when you are lost.’