Thursday, October 17, 2013

Give Us Tall Trees!

One of the things that I like to do in my journey to live a self-sufficient life is to study, or at least read some of the books and works of pioneers in this area. Below are some quotes from Daniel Carter "Uncle Dan" Beard (June 21, 1850 – June 11, 1941), specifically from his book The American Boys’ Handbook of Camplore and Woodcraft

He was an American illustrator, author, youth leader, and social reformer who founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, which Beard later merged with the Boy Scouts of America. I like his insight into nature and how the human spirit craves to belong in it and I believe that that is reflected in a lot of his writing for in addition to practical knowledge, there is a lost of wisdom woven into his pages.
There is life in the roar of plunging streams,
There is joy in the campfire's blaze at night.
Hark! the elk bugles, the panther screams!
And the shaggy bison roll and fight.

Let your throbbing heart surge and bound,
List to the whoop of the painted Reds;
Pass the flapjacks merrily round
As the gray wolf howls in the river beds.

We weary of our cushions of rest;
God of our Fathers, give back our West.
What care we for luxury and ease?
Darn the tall houses, give us tall trees!
However crude these verses may be, the sentiment is all right. But may be it will express our idea better if we do not attempt rhyme. Suppose we try it this way

The hooting of the barred owl, the bugling of the elk!
The yap, yap, yap of the coyote, the wild laugh of the loon;
The dismal howl of the timber wolf,
The grunting of the bull moose, the roaring of the torrent. 
And the crashing thunder of the avalanche!
Ah, that's the talk ; these are the words and sounds that
make the blood in one's veins tingle like ginger ale. 
Why do all red-blooded men and real American boys like to hear
The crunching of the dry snow; 
The flap, flap, flap of snowshoes; 
The clinking of the spurs and bits; 
The creaking of the saddle leather;
The breathing of the bronco; 
The babbling of the rivulet; 
The whisper of the pines, 
The twitter of the birds, 
And the droning of bees.

Why? Because in these sounds we get the dampness of the moss, the almond-like odor of twin flowers, the burning dryness of the sand, the sting of the frost, the grit of the rocks and the tang of old mother earth! They possess the magic power of suggestion. By simply repeating these words we transport our souls to the wilderness, set our spirits free, and we are once again what God made us; natural and normal boys, listening to nature's great runes, odes, epics, lyrics, poems, ballads and roundelays, as sung by God's own bards!
Oh, that we could leave to our children a legacy of the love of God's Nature and the understanding of how importantly intertwined we are with it. I love walking and talking with my children about the majesty, creativity and wonder of Creation.

On a hunting trip, a pastor friend of ours once helped us (our boys and myself) to understand a little more about nature when we were hunting. We had gotten up at 3:30 in the morning to get ready and to be in the woods ready to hunt at sun-up. "Listen.," he would say. "The sounds of crickets and the owls give way to various bird songs as the woods slowly woke from it's slumber."

We had a great conversation about appreciating the woods and learning the cycle of things.We also had a similar conversation at dusk as well as bird songs gave way to crickets, frogs and toads. There are a number of things that we can learn from just being out in the woods.

Nature continually speaks whether we listen or not. Take the time today and listen to what it's telling you.

Get out amongst the tall trees!

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