Encounters in nature, part 4: Going wild

A grassy marsh amidst the woods

A grassy marsh amidst the woods

photo by B. T. Newberg

Encounters in Nature: An Open-air Dialogue in the North Woods

with Celtic polytheist Drew Jacob, Vodou priest Urban Haas, and Humanistic Pagan B. T. Newberg

Part 4: Going wild

Recorded with a Blue Yeti microphone on a Macbook

In today’s segment, part 4 in a 5-part series, the conversation continues as we share our experiences in nature.

Urban shares the strange experience of returning to the city after being in the countryside, B. T. contrasts agriculture land with wilderness, and Drew waxes poetic at how nature gives you everything you need for free.

All this and a crackling fire today on Encounters in Nature.

And now a question for you:

How do you view wild nature?

Note: Should you experience troubles with the Flash player, you can also get the show free on iTunes Store.
Drew gazes out over the grassy marsh.

Drew gazes out over the grassy marsh.

photo by B. T. Newberg
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7 Comments on “Encounters in nature, part 4: Going wild

  1. Any of you read Daniel Quinn? Not sure I accept all of his perspective, but he does make a lot of points similar to what Drew was talking about in this podcast, that I’ve always wanted to explore more of being out in wild nature. Any recommendations for learning foraging, shelter, skllls, etc. either publically or privately? I live in Central Ohio if that helps any. I have pooped in the forest in my outings, though.

  2. I’m not familiar with Quinn. Though his Beyond Civilization looks interesting (just checked it out on Amazon). Not sure I would agree with him on much of anything, but it would be an interesting read.

    I’ll let Drew make recommendations on wilderness skills, as that is his element.

    • Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael” was the most recommended book in my college studies for a background read. I took took the Fish & Wildlife Technician Program. A lot of classmates recommend it and was definitely worth the read, it certainly changes your perspectives, even if you don’t agree with it all.

  3. I read Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael” many years back. It was long before I started my wilderness adventures and I’m not sure I ever made the connection… ha, funny.

    Anyway, to learn outdoors skills I recommend two things.

    1) Go to the Teaching Drum Outdoor School. They have an online discussion group you can join too. http://teachingdrum.org/

    2) Read and follow the Practical Primitivist blog. http://practicalprimitivist.com/2011/08/05/why-it-might-be-scary-if-life-is-good/

    Take it gradually. Don’t try anything way beyond your current skill level, and don’t go it alone if you can help it. The two things you think will be hardest – the challenge of learning and the physical hardship – will not be hard at all. Your mindset will be your biggest rival. But oh so worth confronting!

    ENjoy 🙂

    • BT: I’d recommend reading “Ishamel” if you’re curious about Quinn. I haven’t read “Beyond Civilization”, yet, but haven’t heard great things about it. What I have read about his neo-tribal ideas on-line seem a little…basic. I was just curious because of the similarities between Drew’s ideas and his. A lot of his arguments arise out of “dropping out” of civilization in a way to form small “tribal” communities, using ideas about the wealth of nature as support.

      Drew: Will check out your recommended websites. Thanks for all the advice.

  4. Pingback: Episode 4 – Going wild « Encounters in Nature

  5. Good Fun, especially the poop comment at the end – too true!

    I like Drew’s advice on how to go about learning to live in a wild ecosystem. I am personally all set in every way except for all year round food and medicine. I know of a bunch of foods and some medicines, but not enough to go without a first aid kit or no prepared meals. I am good at fire – could be better; good with shelters in every time of year; good for improvising for many injuries – i.e. making a stretcher or neck brace. I only wish I could get that training you received. Maybe when my kid (and possible future kid(s)) are in highschool or something. I do know that I can still learn many useful craft skills still while at home. i.e leathercraft, basket weaving etc. By the way did you Drew, learn any wilderness leather craft skills? If so, I’d like to know how you prepped the hide before working it to make it into what you wanted, as I am greatly frustrated with how many sources recommend harmful chemicals.

    I also can empathize with Urban’s culture shock story. One time, I recall it being very weird to feel concrete under my feet to the point where I started walking on the grass beside the sidewalk. Even the smallest of stores was too overwhelming, and the noises of all the electronics and people too disorienting. *shiver*

    Now, my view of ‘wild nature’? Huh. Well, my view of Nature is a mass of interconnections – a healthy ecosystem is made up of mostly good connections, while most of our human altered environments have bad connections, creating disharmony. So when you say ‘wild nature’ I see a very healthy ecosystem where everything that is connected to one another is beneficial to the whole balance of everything. Such environment is what I call Ehoah – complete balance within Nature. That is how I view it, and I realize that this description is really intellectual instead of feely, but that is my problem. I don’t really know how to describe it in how I feel since it is so filled with explosive senses that it is difficult to know where to start. I suppose that is where I’ll start, my senses.

    When surrounded by, I’ll just called it Ehoah (as that makes the most sense to me), I feel my senses perk up instantly, the weather is more easy to read, the wind carries more sound and scent, my nerves a little more tweaked for reaction, my mind never really sleeps as my ears are always on alert (which is strange because I am a very heavy sleeper otherwise, and therefore annoying because I love deep sleep), I always scan my surroundings periodically and still do in urban areas (I suppose having lifeguarded for a number of years keeps your mind like that for urbanscapes) but noticeably more so in Ehoah environments, especially when alone (I usually do so with the back of my mind going, “is there a dangerous animal nearby?” I have had bears watch me on more than one occasion, where you get that intense feeling that you are being watched, then you smell it and think, “Oh, god its coming closer!” Just freaky. Wolves and Moose don’t bother me though, neither do skunks or hornets for that matter – so long as I didn’t disturb their nest that is). I am usually the one who goes, “hey do you want to go on a hike with me?” and a friend goes “yeah, where at?” and I mention a common hiking place. When they join me they find themselves asking, “aren’t we supposed to follow the trail?” and I go,”where is the fun in that?” I often get annoyed when people complain about going up hills off trail and keep asking if we should go back and I remind them that the trail is only due south. Then I realize they don’t know where south is and it becomes a mini lesson on how to orient yourself. I forget how unfamiliar wildscapes are for many people and that off-trail is psychologically frightening to a lot of folks. I admit that I am way more comfortable when I am with a large group, but freak out at improper camp etiquette – i.e. food inside your sleeping quarters.

    One thing that a lot of people apparently don’t like is altering a wildscape in any way. It is somehow seen as pristine and shouldn’t changed to our comfort or use, and that is one thing I almost always instantly do once in wildspace, and had friends object to it (all of whom are city raised, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it). When a place looks good for a certain function and if I go there often enough, I make it a little more permanent. i.e. a latrine, firepit, or tent pad. When climbing trees (a favorite past time) I make way for good access to better branches by removing some of the smaller ones that are in the way – and people complain. But that is how I view and interact with wildspaces and have a difficult time seeing it any differently.

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