40 hours of travel….. Each way… I must be nuts…..
Or Nuts if I dont!
Over the winter I have been working on my naturalist skills.
Tracking; reading stories in the tracks of animals. Stories like where the animals were going, which way were they looking, were they stressed, excited, or relaxed. I have been also been working on bird language interpretation. Bird language is using the eyes, ears and behavior of the birds to locate other animal activity in the area.
I’m still leaning. Sometimes I feel like a very slow student. Sometimes , it has been amazing. I have been able to tell that there is a Coopers Hawk sitting in the tree in back by the behavior of the song birds out front. I have looked at the tracks of one of our dogs and known that she had been looking left with her head up. Very cool.
So who teaches this stuff? Well, there are a few places out there. I found a man named Jon Young. Jon has been working in outdoor education and mentorship of wilderness skills for over 30 years. He was trained in his boy-hood by Tom Brown jr. before Tom started his school. I was going to embark on a year-long distance mentorship with Jon.
Then my plans changed. I was given the opportunity to accompany Jon for two weeks in Africa.
The two weeks will be spent with the Naro Bushman of the Kalahari desert.
The Bushmen are the real experts in this field.
The Bushmen lives depend on knowing where the leopards are. Where the snakes are, and how to trail game. The Bushmen are still living a subsistence life style keeping the old skills alive.
All the first nation people probably practiced these awareness skills. The Apache were renowned for their tracking ability and the ability to evade their enemies. Bird language was an indispensable part of this ability.
I feel so privileged to learn from both Jon and the Bushman, and going to Africa to boot. I hope to be able to learn some of these skills that were so important to people for tens of thousands of years. I hope to be to pass these skills on to my students in the future. For now I’m on my way.
Expect an update when I get back.
Best wishes Jeff
If you want to lean more about my trip or these awareness skills please visit the following links: