Rick's Journal

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Southern Man

Well, Ariel Schloss, Ryan Smith and I are at Warren Wilson College, here in Asheville, North Carolina. Walking around the campus, we have been warmly greeted by students, and welcomed by Tim Manney and Rachel Williamson. Danielle Emmett, a Hawk Circle Alumni from several years back, is a student here and it is so nice to reconnect and see how she has grown.

Being here, though, brings to the forefront my feelings for Austin Wright, who was a student here until his passing earlier this spring. His presence is strong and I feel more connected with him and his life through being here and seeing the trees, land, mountains and spaces that he loved. I usually only saw him at Hawk Circle, during our Earth Skills Semester or the summer camp programs, and it is a good feeling to be in one of the environments he loved.

We are staying in the Eco-Dorm, which is an awesome building that uses recycled rain water for toilets, solar energy, edible landscaping and so many other earth friendly technologies. It is truly a gift to be able to stay here and experience the technology first hand, rather than through articles in Mother Earth News or various books on Natural Building, etc.

We are here to connect with people/students and talk about the work Hawk Circle is doing in the areas of wilderness skills, mentoring, awareness, personal growth and native arts, so we are busy talking with everyone and sharing stories. Meeting people can be very tiring!

We have to go do a presentation by the cafe, so I will write more about our trip later!

Have a good week, y'all!


Monday, October 10, 2005

The Hunter's Moon

I took a walk yesterday afternoon, and before I had gone fifty yards from our house, saw two beautiful, healthy whitetail deer. There was a light misty rain falling, which brought out the colors of the maples, cherry, sumac and the viburnum, and the image of the deer surrounded by the colors and shrouded mist was exquisite. Such is the situation with autumn, here at Hawk Circle!

This fall, our students have been learning some excellent fire skills, including making hand drill fires, fires in the rain, fires with rock tools, cooking fires and bow and drill fire making with naturally gathered woods. There is so much more to know and to do, but it is great to have the time for all of the students to practice these skills, not once or twice, but daily, during our morning fire sessions.

We have also made a great stacked debris wall shelter, and an awesome camp, which will be fun to use later this fall, when the snow flies. We are all excited to see how well it works to hold the heat and provide a home for us in the wilderness. The shelter is partially underneath a couple of large white pines, and the carpet of falling needles are so soft and colorful that we all just stop and stare from time to time. It is a true gift.

Many of our students and staff this year are practicing their bow making, arrow making, shooting and camoflage in preparation for bow hunting for deer. This has been a powerful process, with lots of intensive learning and commitment required. The Hunter's Safety Class. The Bowhunter's Safety Class. The many miscellaneous expenses (targets, broadheads, clothing, gear). And above all, the time needed to honor the deer, and honor the hunt. We are planning a Hunter's Lodge, with games, skills and a sweatlodge ceremony that will help us be ready physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

I find that there is so much thankfulness among our community here, just for the gift of being able to focus on these skills and that they are supported by so many people in our community. Everyone has approached the idea of taking a life with such concern, care, heartfelt emotion and respect, that we have all grown as a result, without even getting out in the field and hunting yet. It is truly a gift, to be able to share this in a society that for the most part, is reluctant to talk about or even see death. There is much healing and inner growth weaving among us all, here, under the mountain of blazing trees.

Have a great fall, everyone, and be well.