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A Kindred Spirit – Bahadur Bryson

March 16, 2015

Hi, Way of the Wild supporters!! Here is the new site of a kindred spirit that you are going to want to check out especially if you are headed to Australia or New Zealand. Bahadur Bryson is a practicing wilderness therapist who draws on ancient traditions, some of which come from her Maori heritage. There is great wisdom here for us all, so please go and enjoy www.natureknows.co!
Mary

Mary’s Interview on KGNU

October 3, 2014

HEY WOW SUPPORTERS! CHECK THIS OUT!  Listen to Mary Sweeney being  interviewed by Nancy Monson, Director and Lead Teacher for the Running River School, Boulder, Co about the importance of  unstructured time in nature for children’s development! Click here to listen!   September 29, 2014 KGNU Interview

Check out this interview of Mary by Rocky of FB Natural High On Nature and Luvlifeclimbsurf – YouTube

February 2, 2014

Check out this link.

One day Program November 11!

November 5, 2013

Please go to our program page to sign up for the one day program, Monday, November 11, 2013!

September Hunt

September 15, 2013

Hey folks. wasn’t going to share this, but have had a small voice inside saying I must so here goes….

 

Forgive the grammar issues. I just wanted to share this quickly with interested parties.

Hunting season is here! Bow hunting a lot right now because I’m stuck on a mountain outside Boulder (and grateful for it!!) Not many reasons to be distracted so I’m using my tag. Well, first day I’m sitting in some brush camo’ed up and quieted down, and checking in with my senses regularly, really. Just around sun up I hear a dog start barking and I figure someone let fido out to pee and he heard something moving, so he alarmed. What moves at the thin time in the forest, but wild things? Still it’s a subtle message even though it should not be. I question myself. It comes across as a “maybe.” Anyway, It’s on a neighbor’s land and no hunting there, but it’s got my “alert” up. For quite awhile I wait, but no show. It gets later. The sun gets higher and I move.
Later that morning having coffee with my other neighbor she tells me she saw “something brown” moving through the forest where I’d thought the animal had been. “Not sure if it was deer or coyote…”
No shot for me on that private land, but something was there. That was good. Take away for me? Pay attention to animals alarming out here.

That evening I get there late in the day and settle in for the sunset. All of a sudden crows start flying in from the east, making a LOT of noise. Now, crows do tend to fly in to sleep together, sometimes in huge numbers, but they were particularly noisy.  So, I figured maybe there is something up there. Think I’ll go see! I stalk up the side of the hill quietly and just as I get to a flat spot I peek over the top of a boulder. There in front of me is a bobcat so big and tawny I had to wait for the tail to come into view so I could make sure it wasn’t a young lion. I was going to stay down, but wanted a better look and decided to pop my head up and look square at the cat. He stopped , circled around a little pine tree stared back for few seconds then continued on his nightly hunt. I wasn’t hunting him and he knew it. We just acknowledged each other and went on.

That was fun, but all the activity certainly changed the concentric rings of energy in that place. Sunset was upon us and there was no time left to let things settle. So, I scouted the area to find a place for the morning. I went out into the field that was had a lot of currant bushes and a few scattered trees and lay down to rest by a dead punky log. Suddenly I noticed kitty pee. Cats will mark areas with their sent for varied reasons. I had learned from Sue Morse of Keeping Track, they like things that absorb and hold their sent like punky stuff. I looked around and thought this might be good place to sit tomorrow morning. It was a quiet but compelling thought. I was concerned about the openness, but felt their might be enough brush to cover me.

Next morning I was out there again. I got out of my truck in the dark and headed for the cat log, but my mind was full of chatter. I was nursing my irritations and resentments that morning. The screen to my intuition was full of snow and incomplete signals and I didn’t even give it much attention. My intellect told me the log was too open. I kept fighting with myself over whether to go there and finally chose a place with more cover. My brain overwhelmed my heart. About an hour and one half into my sit I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I pulled my bow with the intention of holding for awhile hoping the deer would turn my way. They didn’t. They moved away and down field. Though I could have hit one, my shot was too far to kill with certainty. To many hunters leave arrow heads in wounded deer, because their excitement overwhelms them. Instead I tired to follow them and was able to keep up for awhile till they finally moved uphill and spotted me. I tracked them for a long time, but had to give up. They moved off the property I was hunting on.

I circled back and found their early morning tracks. What do you think I thought when I noticed that the five deer had walked slowly right by the cat log? My five potential shots were all within 30 to 40 feet.

Tracking is a multi-sensory experience. If you tracked the elements of my experience then you will see that I was not paying attention to the small voice inside that knew exactly what I should do. I am hunting with a traditional bow and need to get very close to animals to be successful. My intuition gives me the edge. I was pretty mad with myself and hoped I’d get another chance.
That small voice also told me I should write about this here. I don’t now why, but I am listening this time I hope it helps. I know I need to stop questioning these things.

I’ll keep you up to date on my hunt.
Thanks for reading.
Mary

The Context of Hunting

September 2, 2013

Hunting did a lot for my understanding of who I am in the world. It was more powerful for me than anything I had done in nature up to that point, but I had  experience with hunter/gatherer skills prior to ever hunting. I had ‘played’ at it as  most people interested in these things do. No matter how much you work at it, how would anyone really know exactly what it was like for hunter/gatherers? For the majority of people alive today the world is quite different from what it was for their nomadic ancestors. But, I went into hunting with some physical skills and a world view that had shifted due to my experiences in nature. Hunting refined my skills, my  view and inspired me to get better at connecting to nature. It gave me a reason to try harder. Something serious to me was a stake- another being’s life. After that, I didn’t want to go back.

I do not like to suppose that I have any idea with certainty, what it was like to be a hunter/gatherer. I was not there. I don’t care what anthropologists say. That said, it is likely that for hunter/gatherers (our modern terms by the way and probably not their descriptors) these activities were merely ordinary, necessary activities in the context of their ordinary lives- lives in which hunting was just a part of a way of living.  For me shopping might be a modern equivalent to hunting and gathering. It is definitely ordinary, necessary and I hardly give it any thought unless I need something. It demands of me a certain set of skills and knowledge, I am familiar with. I was taught it very young and how I apply the knowledge has evolved over time.

I am deluged with messages about shopping’s essential function in preserving my survival, comfort  and cultural well being from the big story teller of our modern society, mass media. I think the requirements of meeting my basic needs has become more complex not less so, to keep up with the speed of society’s changes. While nature offers us never ending levels of complexity to know, it is arguable that  hunter/gatherers had more time to get better at some basic living skills. Likely their culture required them to learn less than we do today to maintain their lives. This does not mean they were not learning something new all the time.  My larger point though is that these activities are contextual and cannot be fully experienced outside of that context. My focus on shopping would not be for its sake, but in service to the context of my life.

I had to explore why I wanted to hunt. I decided If my desire was to hunt in a more supposedly traditional, primitive holistic way, I needed to “play at” or practice skills used by hunter/gathers. This required me  to learn a lot. I need to learn about  tracking, navigation,  basic survival skills, natural history of the animal I wanted to hunt, working with an animals remains, awareness, camouflage, low tech hunting methods such as traditional archery, making crafts, cooking, preserving etc, etc.  You do not have to do this to hunt in the context of a modern world. There are ways to hunt successfully without knowing a lot of this. Then it is hunting in a different context.

If I was to teach someone to hunt I would honor whatever context they come with (within my judgement of reasonableness and my capabilities.)  However, I can only take them where they wish to go.  For me primitive hunting implies a different context than myriad other reasons why people might hunt today, all of which are their business.

Unless something really drastic happens (which is not necessarily at all desirable) we are probably never going to go back to a hunter/gatherer world. I believe that  we can create and have experiences that give us insight about how to live better today.  I’ve been learning, practicing and teaching basic survival skills for 13 years and I have had some pretty good teachers. But, in truth, the best teacher I have had has been my own experience coupled with a good mentor. Dirt time really is the magic ingredient, but most of us need reasonable support along the way. This is what I want to offer, good experiential support.

New Fall Programs!!!

August 3, 2013

Hi Folks,

Please click on our “program” page to check out our new fall programs!!