That little forest was also my backwoods escape place. It offered the comfort and soothing solitude I needed when the insanity of my alcoholic family home life was approaching more than I could bear. By high school, that wilderness had shrunk into irrelevancy as girls, cars, and school became way more important. But I have never forgotten that little patch of sacred ground. Did you have a place like that when you were a kid?
Last Child in the Woods. NDD is most simply defined as the human costs of alienation from nature, and it's the counter-point to my boyhood fondness for places green and wild.
When Luc Tunkel wrote to me about his work with Heartroot Nature Connection, the memory of the wild and natural place of my youth came to get me . . .along with my fear of the big outback. Luc, it turns out, is just what NDD males need. He is someone who can gently introduce guys to the wilderness in ways that minimize fears while building a skill-based confidence and a love of things natural.
Heartroot Nature Connection. Through his training experiences, he offers, what he terms ancestral skills, a way of learning to live in a mutually beneficial relationship with the natural ecosystem. Just some of the skills Luc can help you learn include: crafting your own bow and arrows for hunting, and the ancient arts of shelter building, friction fire making, tracking, fishing, backwoods navigation, and gathering edible and medicinal plants.
Just a few of those talents would greatly increase my confidence and comfort in going into the great outdoors. The best part of Luc's training is you get to learn these skills in his backyard, the mountains and backwoods of Montana. Now that’s one large, beautiful, green, and wild patch of sacred ground!
If you want to get a small sense of what it’s like to actually have a heartroot nature connection, read this inspirational Springtime Prayer Luc wrote last March. Reading it made me want to be him and experience nature through my pores and whole being. The prayer begins with these lines:
Let the Thaw be witnessed by untainted senses, understood without judgment or expectation. May my squishy footsteps bring me to yet unexplored expressions of Truth. Let my voice ring in resonance with birdsongs, welcoming the lengthening of days and renewed growth. (read more)Instead of wanting to be Luc, as an NDD guy perhaps I should just pack up and go spend a week with him in Montana. Maybe I'd begin to develop my own Heartroot Nature Connection. I think I need to better understand what I have lost, or maybe never developed, as a man in relationship to the natural world.
If you had training in the great outdoors by the men around you while you were growing up, tell us about it. Add it to the comments section of this post or send me a note and I'll add it for you.
If, however, you are an NDD guy like me, imagine how the man you are today would be different if, as a boy you had men like Luc around for guidance. Men who could help you harvest all the gifts of discovery, personal and natural, waiting in the great outdoors. Then you may want to consider the young males around you today who have never left the worlds of cement, asphalt, artificial, man-made, the mall, and digital places. Can you think of a way, possibly along with some of your men friends, to give those guys the gift of a visit to a wild and green place?
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