Do you think there is an inner mountain man in all of us? Is there something about that ‘make it on our own and off the land” thing that resides deep in the spirit of most of us? I think so. It resonates, especially in men. For centuries we were the hunters, providers and protectors of our worlds. However I think it goes deeper than that. Perhaps to a place of lost harmony. Lost skills. We have lost our understanding and connection to things that are true; we have lost our relationship with nature.
I have spent many years at pow wows. Many years traipsing around in the woods, watching wildlife, listening to the birds. I have camped and spent many a year doing primitive camping at various Mountain Man rendezvous. Camping in tipis under buffalo hides dressed in buckskins. Eaten my food cooked from an open fire. All for a week at a time! Yup that’s it. But it lives deep in my soul and the rest of the time there is a quiet longing for that reconnection. Reconnection to simpler times where going back makes that life feel less confusing that the ones we live today.
I’ve been reading a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called “The Last American Man”. It’s the story of Eustace Conway who lives by and large a primitive life in the mountains around Boone, N.C. Not a hermit, Conway’s mission is to help people understand nature and how to live in it. I can’t find a true, constant place in my spirit to want to live like Eustace Conway. Full time he has lived in a tipi for close to 20 years. But I do dream of finding a better balance with this suburban life I lead. A desire to know more about plants, animals and the cycles of nature. The indigenous peoples of all lands see nature as their grocery stores and their pharmacies. Everything they need to live is there. All of that seems like important stuff to know and to pass down. It’s the stuff that grounds me in a world of materialism.
I know there is no going back. America, the world isn’t and shouldn’t give up the many fine things we have to return to an old way of life if it doesn’t call them in that way. I am glad for Eustace, happy he shines a light on things that are so beautiful. I hope I can continue to persue the balance with my natural environments and my man made ones.
What do you think of this? do you find comfort in nature? How important is the natural world to you? Do you ever feel like man thinks he is smarter than nature? I’d love to hear your thoughts.