Ideas of class and elegance are predicated, at least partially, on separation from the natural world (or the illusion of separation). We hide our privates, for “decency.” We don’t eat “like animals;” we use knives and forks and close our mouths. Townships tame the land they inhabit; civilization opposes wilderness.

These ideas are inherited. They strike me as very British, very colonial: an ordered existence is that of a refined core, whittled from distant, uncivilized frontiers.

How innate is this separation? We need clothes and shelter for warmth, and cooked food for health. We need language and science and art. But can refinement denote appreciation and knowledge of the natural world? Can elegance come from a refined sense of stewardship or “placeness”? How opposed to civilization is conservation?