Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The power of starting a fire by hand is an unmistakable feeling. Whether by match, lighter or flint striker. The feeling of peace and relaxation as you stand back and become mesmerized by the dancing flames and the warm, soothing heat that surrounds you is indescribable. That fire mysteriously erases the stress of every day life.
However, there is truly no greater experience than watching a slow burning coal ignite a nest of grasses and cattail fluff into a beautiful flame. There is a true sense of calm and peace that rushes through you when you successfully create fire for the first time by primitive ways.
There are thousands of books, TV shows and DVDs but none of these will prepare you for the harsh reality of primitive ways. Anyone who is truly skilled in primitive fire making techniques will tell you that it is an endless journey. You must devote time and energy into this skill. It is not as easy as they make it look on TV nor is it ever a guarantee.
I practised for months with negative results before I was lucky enough to meet Chris Gilmour. Chris is just an amazing instructor who is passionate about primitive skills. On top of teaching proper technique and material selection, he taught a much more important piece of the puzzle. He embarked upon us the importance of patience and mental mindset.
I have never felt the sheer exhilaration like I did that day I watched my bow drill create a coal that was nurtured into a flame that turned itself into a fire. It was absolutely magical and filled me with a sense of pride I can't explain.
Primitive ways return us to a time and place when men understood how mother earth could provide them with materials needed to sustain life and help them survive the harsh climates of the Canadian wilderness. It was a time when the pioneers, trail blazers and first nations people knew understood that mother nature was not there to tame or beat. She was there to be respected and nurtured. Primitive ways has allowed me to connect with nature in a way I never thought possible.
Since that first primitive fire, I no longer look at a cedar tree or cattail the same. They have become gifts from the earth that allow me to provide fire, food and shelter for me and my family in a survival situation.
Primitive skills are not easily perfected. They take a lifetime of practise and patience. They will however provide you with a new found respect for the earth and for the persons who discovered the result of rubbing two sticks together.
Fire is life. Why not learn how to create fire the primitive way.
Your knowledge, skills and mindset are what set you apart from being a survivor and a person who will parish in a wilderness emergency.
Seek those opportunities to learn new skills. They may save your life !