Well folks after fifty-five days in the woods with just one week off I’M STILL HERE!
Haven’t been eaten by wild hogs, frozen to death or starved. After the first few challenges to start this adventure off it seemed that every step was a fight! Then I realized that I didn’t have to fight, just accept the situation for what is was. Find a solution or not and move forward. The journey to complete my shelter before winter weighed heavy on me for a while. I would push myself to exhaustion then spend two days recuperating. With little bursts of progress it sometime seemed that it would never get done! Then it started getting colder. At best it is a struggle just to move when you are all bundled up and wearing gloves.
Then one exceptionally bright, warm sunny day I was up before the sun, raring to build by damn! As I arrive at my lodge site I sit down on my favorite log to drink my morning coffee and watch the sun come up. A calm comes over me. The sunrise was exceptional, the day proving to be very mild. Knowing that it was going to be a glorious day and dreading being under the tarp working I made up my mind to go exploring instead. As I wandered the ridges and hollers, following the game trails, seeing, it seemed, for the very first time the majestic beauty of the land I was on. Finding the tracks of all my neighbors and fellow creatures habituating here. Learning the lay of the land and just giving into the calm quit pace of life in the woods.
I watched a doe deer on her morning wander not a care in the world, stopping to browse on acorns and mushrooms. Playing “see who can stand still the longest” with the very curious squirrels. Watching a very fat cheeked seven-stripped chipmunk scurrying along his way gathering for the winter. I was at peace, both with myself and with the Earth. Come what may everything will be OK!
Progress has moved steadily along since that morning. If I feel called to work on my shelter great! With a lot of progress, or know that today would be a wonderful day to make mats. Finding the primitive pace has made all of the physical, mental and spiritual difference in this journey that I am on.
Take the time to just be! With yourself, the situation, the beauty of the Earth that you live on. Being on Primitive time is one of the Creator’s most precious gifts of all.
James Fulcher Resident 2014-2015. Originally published 2014