It had been too long since I'd last had a fire. The next morning the smell of wood-smoke on my shirt stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t wash that shirt for weeks. After watching Avatar for the first time, I was racked with cravings for the feral life. I wanted to drink blood from a horn, to let my body grime over with grease and gore. The ancient Japanese in the Last Samurai and their lives rich in rock, fire, iron, and wood got me the same way. You don’t sell your soul in some Faustian bargain. You bleed it out slow, one sterile, plastic, right-angled day at a time. You try to jump-start it with nostalgia. You look back to your golden years, when you were a god. You look back to that time you trekked through Nepal, or the summer you lived out of your pickup truck, broke, tan, and happy. You look back and think “God to be single again.” But that’s not it. It’s not the large commitments you’ve accepted, but the small ones you’ve shirked. Remember how simple it all is: Music. Put on headphones, lose yourself. Drift into sleep with the sounds of the masters in your ears. Writing. Dust off your journal. Write down your theories, your could-be futures, your unhinged rants. Outside. Unplug everything. Walk a mile in the dark. Build an unreasonably large bonfire. Poetry. Put the business book down. Try some Buber or Whitman or Ted Hughes instead. Conversation. Ring up the best conversationalist you know and take him to lunch. Light each other’s minds on fire. *** You know this. So why did you stop? You have a wife? You have kids? You have the busiest, most soul-sucking job on the planet? Doesn't matter. Abandon your health, and your body will fail you. Abandon your SOUL, and it will grind you into dust, destroying all meaning until you are lost in ways you cannot imagine. Let your skill's atrophy, you will not survive. Have you smelled the smoke in the fire you made lately? Have you walked the trails around your AO. Have you shaken the hand of a neighbor you have not met? What have you done to feel alive, connected, involved? Did you go and fish or kill an animal to feed your family this year and did you process your meat and package it for storage? Have you pulled out your camping gear and cleaned it, prepared it for future use, and repaired broken items. This months topic…. Primitive life skills and how you are preparing to be ready to implement those skills. When is the last time you made a fire, purified water from a lake, built a hasty shelter.....? I grew up on a small farm that was a part of a large ranch in Montana. We had a substantial garden, rabbits, pigs and bartered regularly with our neighbors for eggs, chickens, fruits and so on. We spent our summers raising food, working the ranch, getting firewood ready for the fall, and fixing what we broke along the way. Dad was a mechanic; mom was the traditional housewife during the winter and worked local jobs in the summer for extra cash. We did not have excess… but we always had good working tools, clothes, transportation, a solid roof over us, loyal friends and happiness. We laughed, we prayed, we worked hard to meet our needs…. I learned to build, work, repair, grow, handle livestock and so on…. in the goal to be ready for tomorrow. There was not a next year or 5 years down the road.. it was about what we can do today, to be better ready for life tomorrow. Today we are in trying times, times that could turn down hill quickly forcing us to rely on skills learned...or playing catch up with the potential to hinder your survival opportunities. Everyday we see things that concern us... and drive us to get better prepared for what may come. What are you doing to keep up with your primitive survival skills and knowledge? Have you acquired hand tools to build stuff, practiced bush-craft and various survival skills, sorted your gear to take advantage of your knowledge, made a survival manual off of available resources, made a rain catchment system... tell us what you are up to, what are your adventures and goals moving forward?