Monday, October 13, 2008

Returning to Nature

This Wednesday, myself and four intrepid friends will be heading to the Ouachita National Forest of Arkansas to hike 28ish miles through the wilderness. We will be miles from civilization, and a seeming eternity from help should disaster strike. It may rain on us, and we will eat one hot meal a day...probably. We will cross rivers and mountains in our quest to..our quest in the woods and make fire.

What we will learn there, at least the lesson that is re-enforced to me every time I make a wilderness trek, is that we live in a fallen world. If you want to eat in the woods, you basically have to pack your food in with you. Sure, there are berries and plants that a real mountain man can forage for, but without the proper expertise, you will burn more calories looking for such fodder than you will gain by eating it. Plus, if you make a mistake, you may wind up dying a slow, agonizing death due to poisoning. The wilderness is not a hospitable place at all.

You also have to take into account blood-sucking mosquitoes, equally voracious ticks, biting flies, gnats that crawl into the nose, eyes, ears, and mouth, snakes, and bears. Do you know why bears will rip apart both backpack and man to get at one granola bar? Because the food in the woods is junk, that's why. For all the romantic views of nature out there, the fact is that the 'pristine' wilderness grows more briars than berries.

It used to be that every tree bore good fruit. God told Adam, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat", excepting only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16). Do you suppose that God would tell Adam that if all that grew on the trees were pine cones and bitter acorns? I doubt it. It was probably like living in Willie Wonka's candyland in the Garden of Eden before the fall, everything was edible and delicious.

So why do we go into the woods to suffer? Because there is no TV, or cell phone, or computer, or blogging, or UPS delivery guy, or crashing stock market, or radio, or anything. There is silence, and there is uninterrupted fellowship with friends. Plus, I can take my flint, magnesium, and steel and make a big fire. I go because I can walk around with a razor sharp hatchet and whack things with it. I go because that sort of thing appeals to a man. It's innate. I can't rightly describe the primal urge to go out and survive apart from civilization, but there is something inherently manly about it. Perhaps, as a child of God, it reminds me that by the power of the Holy Spirit, a man can go out into a fallen, briar-filled world and survive. Or maybe I just like burning stuff. I won't analyze the native impulse too deeply today, I'm going into survival mode. It's time for lunch. I'm going to go get a meal. Some nicely wrapped, FDA approved, sanitary, thoroughly cooked, nicely ground hamburger will do for today. Next week, I may try to stab a fish with a stick and cook him over a fire.


Thomas Clay said...

you'll get several holes punched in your man card after this trip! It doesn't sound nearly as dangerous as exegeting Rom 8 and 9 to a church, though!

BTW, if you see a canoe and hear "deuling banjos" playing in the background, RUN!

The Rayburns said...

Your a dork! Hope you guys have a good trip.

Ferron Brimstone said...

Just wondering who that comment about the UPS man was aimed at:P.
Have a good time and be safe.

Brad Williams said...


Long time, no talk? What's up, man?


Jealousy is a deadly sin. I will miss you this time, brother.


HA! Actually, I've ordered so much stuff lately for the trip that I check the door about 20 times a day.:) I'm out of control.

Ferron Brimstone said...

Keep spending that money, some body has to keep the economy moving.