On Discovering Self

"Walk in Peace... Learn from Nature... Find Yourself...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bush Buddy and Biscuits

Time sure flies when you are having fun and it sure has been fun lately, doing all kinds of bushcraft stuff. I have especially appreciated the time I have spent lately with my bush buddy Christian. Christian is my all around good kid and cubscout. He is seven going on eight and has a keen eye, enjoys all kinds of nature, likes hiking, exploring, learning things and will make a fine bushcrafter someday. He has gotten real good at starting fire with both man-made and natural tinders. He has learned to identify these things in the wild and collects them with a vigor. His backpack "tinder pocket" is full of birch bark, thistle down, milkweed fluff, cattail and some dryer lint and jute cord, just in case. He has practiced with his fire steel so much, he has worn a curve into it. I guess I need to teach him to rotate it occasionally. But is he ready for more?

He practices making shavings and a fuzz stick whenever he can with his knife, practices tying 5 kinds of knots, and of course his favorite is the square knot. He favors his walking stick when in steep terrain, knows when a digging stick is a good tool to have and how to make one. He has learned all kinds of wild edibles and will harvest a basswood leaf or two just for a snack. He has helped me filter water out of a creek bed in our wilderness and understands why it needs to be filtered of all the nasties. He has assisted in putting up a tarp shelter in the rain, he is not afraid to get his feet or his shoes wet crossing a stream, he uses his compass regularly to tell me what direction we are going. He likes dressing in earth tones, just for our outings in the wilderness. Every new thing that comes along, he takes in stride.

    The other day, we were coming back out of the woodland from one of our favorite spots by the river and we came to a steep embankment full of small rocks and gravel that made the going seem like you were climbing on ball bearings. Every step was like one foot forward and two feet back. I could see that he was having trouble and extended my walking stick to help him to the top. He was grateful and said thanks. Later, as we were climbing up a steep ridge, he made it to the top first and when he saw that I was having trouble, he extended his walking sticking and helped me to climb up to the cliff edge. I said thank you very much and realized what a great partner I had in the wilderness. He will be a survivor, he will be a great bushcrafter, he is on the path.

Bushcraft and for that matter self reliance is not just for adults, it is for kids as well. They need to learn, they want to learn, they are eager and curious about how to make it in the world. Their curiosity is what drives them. In paleo-indian or aboriginal times, there were children. They were learning right alongside the adults, from the time they could take their first steps, they were learning the world around them and how their adults responded to that world. The same is true today. I am thankful for my bush buddy, I am grateful that he chooses to share my adventures. I will share and break bread with him anytime. He has told me that he will never refuse to go on a hike with me. I have to say, I really do have the best of both worlds, when I can share the world of bushcraft with the world that is my family. Thanks Christian for being there, you make for some Happy Exploring. 'til next time...

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