Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Primitive Pursuits

This past Summer I decided to stay in Ithaca. I wanted to find a job that would connect me more with the community and surrounding areas and after some job searching I stumbled upon an outdoor education program for children known as Primitive Pursuits. I have always been interested and active in outdoor activities and knew that working with children to foster this same interest in them was something that appealed to me. I signed on to be an assistant field instructor for eight weeks of Primitive Pursuits Summer Camp. This experience would allow me to see nature and humans as one in the same as opposed to two separate entities.

Throughout the Summer I learned how to make a fire after walking into the woods with just a knife and a piece of rope, how to make a shelter from things found only in the forest that would keep you warm and dry, how to sneak up on animals and how to hunt using various tools such as the atl-atl, bow and arrow and tomahawk. But most importantly I connected with nature in a way that I had never experienced before.

This experience pushed me to see nature in a different light. I began to think of nature as a balancing agent, something that was capable of bringing me back to reality even when all other aspects of my life seemed to be falling apart. I marveled and continue to marvel at this phenomenon. It was exciting to learn so many new and interesting primitive skills, such as those I discussed above, but even more amazing was this newly discovered force that I found to be essential to the life I was living. In conclusion, I challenge those who dismiss pursuits of a primitive way of life as nonsense, folklore and irrelevant to today to rethink their position on this matter. Might it not be the skills and technicalities of such a pursuit that are valuable but rather a simple questioning of your current state of being?

Check out the Primitive Pursuits program here:

1 comment:

heidiann(e) said...

Beautiful thoughts and questions, Sylvia - thank you.
You are such a valuable member of our team.