My nature-based journey began during winter break of my first-year of college when someone gifted me The Story of B by Daniel Quinn. That book was the first of many that would turn my world view on end. I was introduced to the notion of living as a native -- as someone who truly belongs to a place and is able to interact in ways that enrich, rather than degrade the surrounding environment. I've been exploring what these ideas mean for me ever since.
After commencement, I landed a job at another college's library. In my off time, I attended classes on wild food foraging and primitive wilderness survival, read through stacks of field guides and accounts of people living off the grid, and spent time wandering the local woods.
I tracked fishers, coyotes, and deer, and discovered the challenges to moving quietly in the eastern woodlands.
I started to hear the voices of common birds sprinkled throughout the day -- while checking the mail, hanging out clothes, and walking through parking lots. They had always been speaking, but I'd only just begun to listen.
I began to recognize the diversity of trees and plant life around me, and noticed their many subtle changes throughout the turn of the seasons.
I slept in tents and primitive shelters, rock boiled water in pine bark containers, made bow drill fires, and gathered black raspberries in the hot summer sun.
And, I came to realize that the richest rewards arrive simply through getting out of my own way, a spiritual lesson I can practice wherever I find myself.
Today, I'm continuing down this beautiful path where I encounter countless mysteries. Every step I take joins me closer with this place. My life has become entangled with the lives of the non-humans who share this land with me, and for that, I am thankful.