Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
Wild Wanderings Blog – June 7, 2012
Hello ya’ll! Warm greetings from the great Smoky Mountains:)) The greenery and biodiversity here is almost beyond words. Western North Carolina is a great place to be indeed. Aside from my busy teaching schedule, I’ve been collecting and creating a vast photo library of wild plants, many of which (featured in my blogs…past, present and future) I hope will inspire you to follow suit. The moon has been magnificent as of late and has spurred my desire to bathe in the moonlight yet once again. Walking quietly through the woods at night is one of my favorite things to do. Flashlights, by the way, are not allowed…
This week I decided to shift gears a bit and embellish upon an exercise I teach often. It’s a simple exercise, but is profoundly powerful. I call it a “sit spot”, or “secret place” when I teach it to children. Here’s the concept. Find a slightly out of the way place on your property, or perhaps at a nearby park and simply sit down, relax and just observe. You can even bring a chair if you’d like, though I suggest you sit on the ground. It does make a difference:)
You should visit your “sit spot” several times a week (daily is the ideal of course:) if possible. This discipline will allow you to get to know one area intimately. Most of us think we know our property pretty well, but this exercise might just change your mind. If you have the discipline to do this for an entire year, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover and experience. Not only will you encounter and glean knowledge about the local wildlife, but your awareness and knowledge of plants and insects will increase dramatically as you experience the changing of the seasons.
I’ve been doing this on and off for almost thirty years and have no intention of stopping. It’s too much fun and quite honestly, I find it rather healing. It helps me balance the hustle and bustle of my daily routine. I’d suggest doing this a minimum of 45-60 minutes each visit, but longer is better. I’ve sat in the woods for an entire day more than once. The longer you sit the more you’ll experience. The more you experience, the more you’ll learn. Don’t be surprised if you learn some interesting things about yourself during the process as well :) Most of us can’t sit still for even a few minutes. Remember, this is for everyone and I’ve found that this is a great lesson for children. Oh yes…they’ll resist at first, but once they start to really see things they’ll actually look forward to it. It teaches them patience…and that, is always a good thing. You might not believe it’s the same kid after a few weeks!
I’ve been fortunate to experience a multitude of animals including bobcats, coyotes, fox, numerous deer, newborn fawns, raccoons, opossums, skunks, mink and turkeys. I even had a squirrel climb up my leg once. A bit unnerving but exciting!
Here are some important points to remember:
Relax and quiet your mind…balancing your checkbook isn’t important now.
Try not to fidget - keep your noise to a minimum.
Sit as still as possible - when you look around turn your head slowly.
If you see or hear an animal nearby don’t move - animals see movement.
Animals are naturally curious - let them come to you.
Look at everything around you - especially things you think you already know.
Soak it all in - naps BTW are considered acceptable behavior:)
Give thanks - Nature is an important part of you.
Remember to visit your place often, and at different times of the day if possible. You may discover that even on slow days, when nothing much seems to be happening, your “Sit Spot” is just a great place to BE.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and input. Please consider joining a group I started called “Traditional / Primitive Living Skills” and I do encourage you to ask questions and contribute.
Richard Cleveland lives in Asheville, NC. He is the founder and director of Earth School. A self-trained Naturalist, fishing and nature guide, he has taught traditional native skills to thousands of people, of all ages. For info about his programs visit www.LoveTheEarth.com
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