What is Living Afield? It is different for each of us.
For me, living afield means changing my life to get back in touch with the
natural world. It means eating healthier, spending more time out of doors.
It means reconnecting with the world around me. It means eating
foods, and using wild herbology to heal body and soul.
When I was younger, I
spent a great deal of time in the forests of northern Michigan. I loved
nothing more than heading off into the woods
with a light pack, looking for adventure. I would take no food, and only
minimal supplies, and embark on survival outings. I became able to live
from the land for weeks on end. As I grew older, and began to build my
family, I noticed that life began to
get in the way of my
adventures. Even after my time in the military, I still made time to periodically head out
on my own, but as the years passed, these times came less and less
I also noticed I was beginning to feel more and more run down. I was
working 7 days a week, sometimes 10 to 12 hours a day. I always thought
this is the way life is supposed to be though, right?
In 1999 shortly after the birth of my son I was diagnosed with Subacute
Encephalomyelitis, and given perhaps 6 months to live. My
world came crashing down around me. Enough was enough, there was no way
in hell I was going to miss seeing my son grow up. I made some drastic
changes to my lifestyle, and I am still here.
I am attempting to bring sanity and order back to
this crazy world. We have tried for so long to build our lives and
flaunt our towers of Babel in the face of Mother Nature. If you are
blind, or have been living under a rock somewhere, let me clue you into
a simple fact; any time she chooses, Mother nature can shrug us off this
world like so many fleas from a dog's back. We are by no means the
masters of our domain. We must get back to a homeostatic relationship
with the natural world. The Native Americans lived in harmony with
nature. They took only what they needed, and used what she provided to
adapt their lives to fit the natural world. Early white settlers tried
to bend nature to suit their lives. In the early 1900's so much of the
American prairie had been plowed under to make room for crop growth,
that we experienced the Dust Bowl, arguably the worst ecological
disaster of modern times. Today many are plagued by diseases such as Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, and Systemic Mastocytosis; the latter disease means that there are actually people who are
quite literally allergic to everything. This is crazy. Enough is
enough. We must find a way to bring nature and our modern world into
concert before it is too late.
I feel I must tell you that I am not a hippie, or
some left wing tree hugger, or a survivalist living in bunker in the
forest. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those, it is just
that they are not me. I am just a normal guy. I live in a medium sized town.
I am an omnivore, I love steak, and potatoes, as well as fish, chicken,
and pork. Not to mention venison, squirrel, rabbits, raccoons, game
birds of all manner of feather. Along with meat, I eat all kinds of
civilized and wild plants. I am not advocating moving into a
cave in the forest, or moving into a commune and weaving your own
clothes. If either of those is your thing though, more power to you. That is what
my philosophy is
all about; finding your own way to live in concert with the natural world.
We can all benefit from bringing a little bit of the natural world into
our urban/suburban/rural lives.
After reading this page a friend said
it sounds like I am starting my own religion. I guess when it comes
right down to it, she may be partially right. While I am not religious
in the least, this subject holds the importance of a religion to me.
If I may take another moment for clarification, you will never see me walking
through the forests in long flowing robes, talking to the animals. This
is actually a philosophical journey to find my peace with the world around
me, and in turn within myself. I have made it my mission in life to
bring this new "old" way of living to everyone else.
My family supplements
our meals with wild food. I regularly hunt the forests of Michigan, as
well as fish her waters. I forage for edible as well as medicinal plants
to nourish and heal our bodies. We use teas, decoctions, tinctures,
ointments, and salves which I make from plants available free for the
picking around our home, and within short driving distances from our
home. For minor pain we use tinctures of Wintergreen Gaultheria
procumbens and Willow Salix alba. The Methyl Salicylate
from these plants is fast acting and highly effective; for pain of a
more acute nature there is Ghost Pipe Monotropa uniflora, which
acts in a manner similar to opiates, without any of the opiate fog. For cuts and
scrapes we use ointments made from Yarrow Achillea millefolium,
Comfrey Symphytum officinale, Chickweed Stellaria media,
and Plantain Plantago spp. For allergies, coughs, colds, and
general lung ailments, we use tinctures and teas made from Mullein
Verbascum thapsus, Goldenrod Solidago canadensis, and
Echinacea purpurea. Many medicinal plants are not only edible, but
highly nutritious. By supplementing our diet with these plants, we reap
their healthful benefits.
I have tried to include something for everyone in
this website. Please look around, and enjoy yourself. Drop me an
email if you like, or just try some of the things on the various pages, to see
if they work for you. It is my fondest desire that you too can find
enrichment from our natural world.