Earth and Spirit Medicine is all about helping you become an effective steward over all your sacred RESOURCES; water, shelter, fire, food and all other available resources, in order to live a balanced and prioritized life.
When I am seeking a place to build my camp in the wilderness the first thing I do is find the premiere location. I want a place that is close to water, has an abundance of firewood, plenty of options for shelter, wild edibles and medicines, and a great view. I am particular about the type of camp I want, because I want the process of setting up, maintaining, and restoring to be as simple as possible.
Maybe it’s the amount of available downed firewood that catches my eye, maybe it’s that nearby stream, maybe it’s the overhang for shelter, whatever it is that initially catches my eye it has to be confirmed through a process of mental inventories that match up with the resources I need.
When I find that place that catches my eye, I first take off my pack (no sense in carrying that extra weight to explore a potential place of residence) and begin to meander about looking for resources to suit my needs. Shelter, Water, Fire and Food are the main resources in wilderness survival and in modern survival. When I am in society (modern wilderness), I realize that many of my resources are purchased with money, which is also a resource, just like firewood.
I have also realized that the way I navigate in my life is the same, whether in society or raw wilderness. Learning what resources are available in your environment is essential. Think about what resources you rely upon in your day to day life, from relationships to paying your bills. I seek to live a balanced and prioritized life no matter where I am.
When I am in the wilderness, I want to make sure that I have plenty of water, plenty of firewood, plenty of wild edibles, a comfortable sleeping area that affords safety and hopefully a view. I want to make certain that the water is far enough away that I do not disturb the water or the wildlife that rely upon it, usually about 200’.
I first decide where the fire pit will be, then my sleeping area, then my latrine, etc. I work diligently to construct a smooth running campsite before I begin exploring and relaxing. Resource Management in wilderness survival is not just important it is absolutely crucial.
The very first Wilderness Essential is being prepared and planning. Creating the time to write the plan is essential. I usually start this process in question format. Once I outline the questions, I simply answer them. As I do this, usually more questions arise and I follow the same process. When I have what I think is a operational plan, I begin prepare. To me the preparing is fun because it is like a game.
This process allows me to plan for the unexpected, my experience shows that if I am ready for it chances are it won’t happen. If I am not ready for it I usually get to experience some unforeseen event, unprepared. I prefer being prepared. I then and always envision the end result of what I want i.e. (a fun, safe and educational wilderness experience) and then I begin aligning my every thought, word, feeling, and action towards that end result.
I outline the necessary steps to make the whole process from planning, setting up and experiencing the trip as practical, productive, and simple as possible. Remember, it is better to prepare than to be caught unaware.
Once I am in the wilderness I am constantly scanning the area and assessing all the surrounding resources and terrain; Juniper tree = shelter, fire, food, medicine, clothing, tools, etc. Wash nearby = possible water, stones for tools, possible animal and plant life.
I get a clear picture of the current circumstances and resources then I decide how much time and energy to spend doing what and how to get effective, quick results with the least amount of effort. As I consider the time of day, the current weather conditions, the resources I have with me, and the resources that nature can provide I begin to create a mental plan. Another reason
I am constantly scanning my surroundings because things are constantly changing. This provides me the necessary awareness to make good decisions now and for the future. Shelter, water, fire and food are the common needed resources to live. If it is noon and hot then fire is less important than shelter and water.
I want to prevent any unnecessary situation, like dehydration, etc. I do everything balanced and prioritized and circular. I absolutely need to budget my energy and resources in order to get the most performance out of my planning.
Now it is time to get down and dirty, so roll up the sleeves and get to work. I have already decided where I will sleep, where I will get water, where I will have fire pit, where I will dig the latrine, where I will create my shelter.
So then I get busy doing what makes the most sense. If I get to my camp when it is very hot, shelter and water are first. If I get to camp and it is cold fire is usually first. I am always executing my plan utilizing the least amounts of energy and time.
While I am gathering firewood, I may eat some wild edibles along the way, or locate a better water source. While I am gathering water I may bring back a load of firewood. In other words, I do not like retracing my ineffective steps to see why and how something went wrong. I plan based on current resources, future needs and personal wants.
I will deliberately gather my firewood farther away from my campsite initially, while I have the energy so that I do not exhaust local resources. I never know if I may be stranded to a small camp radius due to some unforeseen injury, etc. and the last thing I need is to have all my local resources exhausted. Besides it sure helps when cleaning up camp to make it as if I were never there (Leave No Trace). So work a little harder initially, to make things a little easier in the long run.
As the day unfolds I usually know how successful I have been in setting up. I can then go through and readjust what I need to. I am always thinking ahead, and thinking how to get the most done with the least amount of energy. No matter what, I always do the work before I play, because just over the hill might be that rainstorm.
I know what I need, so when the firewood stack is getting low and I know I need a fire in the morning, I best gather more. Once I have taken care of the basics I can then focus on beautifying my camp and making things a little more comfortable for example a more insulated ground cover under my sleeping bag, or a fire reflector for more warmth.
I have learned there is a delicate balance between having more than enough available and taking more than I need. I must be the caretaker and give back in order for the cycle to be effective. If I am always taking and never giving back I deplete not just my resources but the future generation’s resources as well. So if we think about the result of our choices 8 generations ahead I am certain we all will be more aware and careful about every decision we make.
As I consider the time of day, the current weather conditions, the resources I have with me, and the resources that nature can provide I begin to create a mental plan. For example; Juniper tree = shelter, fire, food, medicine, clothing, tools, etc. Wash nearby = possible water, stones for tools, possible animal and plant life.
Another reason I am constantly scanning my surroundings is because things are constantly changing. This provides me the necessary awareness to make good decisions now and in the future in regards to resource management and personal stewardship of the resources.
Shelter, water, fire and food are the most common needed resources to live. If it is noon and hot then fire is less important than shelter and water. I want to prevent any unnecessary situation, like dehydration, etc. I do everything balanced and prioritized and circular. I absolutely need to monitor my energy and resources in order to get the most performance out of my planning within the budget outlined. If there is only so much firewood, there is only that amount and budgeting is necessary.
Once I decide where home (camp) is going to be for the moment, I set up camp and I make it functional using the surrounding resources, I prioritize the list of chores based upon certain criteria; the temperature, the type of terrain, the time of day, what resources are available, the length of time I will be tentatively staying and how to an effective steward.
I want to make every decision clearly thinking about how its results may influence future generations and their experiences. It is our stewardship role that is so crucial for the welfare of our planet and species, and that is I want to minimize my impact on the area I camp, so I am careful to make only healthy decisions.