Archive for ‘(Mis)Adventures’

November 24, 2012

A Thanksgiving Story

“If you are here because you feel sorry for me, you are wasting your time, but if you are here because your life and destiny are linked with mine, then we will make a difference…” – Elizabeth Penashue, an Innu elder

Once, quite a few years ago, I spent Thanksgiving day with a group of young activists on the Navajo reservation. We were there working with an organization based out of Boulder Colorado, called the “Traditional Support Caravan”.

May 1, 2012

What Antarctica says about Star Trek.

The view from McMurdo.

“The land looks like a fairytale.” — Roald Amundsen (1872—1928) about Antarctica.

“Great God! this is an awful place.” — Robert Falcon Scott (1868—1912), also about Antarctica.

Antarctica. What does that have to do with primitivism?

Probably not much.  In fact, maybe just this: Antarctica told me that Mars sucks. Oh, and that Star Trek is a load of bull.

Yeah, honest. That’s what she said.

Now let me explain.

April 23, 2012

Road of Technology and Path of Spirit

“Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology….

April 3, 2012

Meeting a Man who quit Money.

Sometime around two years ago I read an article about this guy who, the article said, lives in a cave outside Moab Utah.  The article also said his name was Daniel Suelo.

“Hmmm…interesting”, I thought.  (After all, what self-respecting primitivist wouldn’t enjoy a story about a guy living in a cave?)

It also said he had given up the use of money about 10 years prior, and hadn’t used a penny since.

“Wow. Seriously?”

August 26, 2011

The hearth outside my cabin.

“A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.”  –Mae West

I sure hope that’s true.  Especially the “fire making up for going bald” part.

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, I once participated in a year-long primitive skills immersion in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with some mighty-fine folks.  However, when we went into the forest to make camp, we kinda over-did the building of our first hearth.

July 30, 2011

My eyeglasses are evil.

Yes, I said evil.  But I don’t mean eyeglasses, really, I mean the whole field of modern eye-care — kinda like an bad witch doctor.  Kinda.

But wait, isn’t modern eye-care one of those wonderful inventions that demonstrate why modern civilization is so much better than being a poor caveman?  How many times have I heard: “You say you’re a primitivist, but you wear glasses!  If you had to live in the stone age you’d be blind!”

Well, maybe there’s more to the story than that.

July 26, 2011

Dances with Mosquitoes

“A man thinks he amounts to a great deal but to a flea or a mosquito a human being is merely something good to eat.” – Don Marquis

Once upon a time, in the Tanana river valley, it was a good month for mosquitoes. They were thick, and in the dark parts of the forest (especially near standing water) they would collect along the way as I walked.  If I stopped they would swarm in clouds like bees defending a hive, but instead, they were buzzing for my blood.

I had been walking for hours in 80 degree heat, using a modern version of an old Eskimo strategy for dealing with mosquitoes.

July 14, 2011

Birch Syrup from a Magic Forest

“There is always music amongst the trees…but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”  ~Minnie Aumonier

It’s a little late in the year for this post, but I’m afraid I wasn’t writing yet when the sap started to flow in the birches.  So I’m about to take you back in time.  It’s easy to do, after all, since time, like words, exist in our imagination.

So imagine a grove of calm white birch trees: bright, open, and inviting. A friend of mine who grew up in East Germany during the cold war once told me that, in the Russian fairy tales she heard as a child, birch groves were always good and full of magic.

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