Fifth Blog Post. September 19, 2019. Thursday. Blog Post #5

Five coals, two flames, and one fire started alone in the woods from bow drill. I’ve come a long way from the fireless youth I once was. I laugh at the days of yore when I, yet just a lad, quaking in his boots, lacked the gift of combustion. Now I am changéd. No longer will an empty lighter or soggy matches stand rooted in the way of my flame producing capabilities. As the metamorphosis of the caterpillar, the imbecilic troglodyte, with Prometheus bestowal, has evolved into the pyrogenous image of Helios to languish no longer on gelid earth.

I found the wilderness trip to be a useful lesson in experiential learning. I have passed many hours watching videos of bushcraft skills and survival challenges or reading of shelter building techniques. I realized, in our five days in the woods, that the extent one can learn from feeling the dirt under one’s fingernails can far outweigh that which one can learn in a youtube tutorial. Whether making spits, weaving rootlet baskets, or spending hours constructing a debris shelter to sleep in, I learned more than I could have if I watched a thousand videos. 

The time in the woods also cultivated in me a deep respect for the spirit of that place. Asking permission, gratitude, and forgiveness to the forest was a necessity for my goal of spending the night there, alone in my shelter. I was acutely aware of its presence as a worked for hours constructing my home for the night. It was there when I blew my coal into flame and it was there in my moonlit dreams. I walked away in the morning with humility and a respect for my place wherever it may be.

Luke Van Horn