Excerpt from my journeyman’s journal in 2002:
At last I stand on the ridge. The arduous climb has lent me a thirst. I drink fresh water from my leather canteen or ‘skin’. I am grateful. It is a good container. Better than you would think. It is my critical capsule, enabling me to travel far today. Without it I could not. I traverse a dry land. Not at all like the land I call home. But now I can discover places beyond the familiar. I feel close to those people whose footprints made these dusty trails a millennia ago.
Quenching my thirst from the flask reminds me of something my grandfather once said about how laterally intertwined our story with nature is:
“I cannot drink if I do not know where to look. But it is not just knowing where the water lies. Once I have found the water I cannot carry it until I know how to contain it. I cannot sew my canteen until I have learned to preserve its leather. I cannot obtain the hide until I have learned to hunt the animal. I cannot catch the animal until I can track. I cannot track until I have learnt to see [nature]. I cannot observe [nature] until I have learnt to become aware. I cannot become aware of nature until I learn to value it. I cannot value it until I learn to live with it. I cannot live with it until I have lived within it.”
[*note: As the trainer-mentor of our instructors on the summer Wildcraft programme I thought it would interesting to share with you some musings and observations that underpin the philosophy and approach of the programme. For me, it is about people appreciating nature and understanding the possibilities of a greater and more fulfilling relationship with it and the rich interactions that it provides. I also hope that the stories pass on some teachings too.]