Any time I spend more than about an hour in the woods, I start to feel a shift in my being. A calmness begins to wash over my nerves. I start to feel more and more alive. The longer I spend in nature, the more my senses start to slowly awaken from their sleepy state. I begin to feel young and joyful. I start to become utterly amazed at the beauty around every bend of the trail or behind every massive oak tree and under each auburn leaf. The bright red of a Cardinal or the perfect blue of a Blue Jay reminds me how talented and awesome nature is. Seeing evidence of the creatures that make the wilderness their home, like a squirrel's stash of acorns or the whitetail buck's antler rub on the side of a sapling reminds me that nature provides everything its inhabitants need. The more I watch and observe in nature, the more life in general makes sense to me. I find lessons you could deem as spiritual in the way the trees shed their leaves in the fall to go through their transformation with the seasons. Seeing and hearing the crows communicate to each other with warnings of danger from predators or sharing the news of a good roosting place for the night reminds me of the importance of community.
Our ancestors lived in and with nature and continued to learn how to make their lives in the wilderness more comfortable and more convenient with some very innovative yet simple practices. However, somewhere along the way, these improvements to our comfort and safety left the wilderness and many of the practices that served humans for more years than not have been abandoned, forgotten and lost by most. With the endangerment of theses primitive practices, something else was lost. Something hard to describe, but undeniable to those who do get to experience it. It's a sense of empowerment, confidence and a spiritual connection to the earth we live on. It's a feeling that we belong here and have been invited to exist in unison with the Earth, the elements and all the creatures we share it with.
Fortunately for all of us, I am able to describe these skills and practices as endangered and not extinct yet. There are folks out there that have continued to practice these skills and they typically are excited to pass them on to anyone who has the desire to learn. From our elders to young enthusiasts there is enough interest in preserving the survivalist mindset to conserve the valuable lessons and all the amazing benefits that come with developing a connection to nature. My dad was one of those people and the older I get the more I become one of those people as well.
- Andre Branning
Owner & Operator
Nature Connect LLC