Följande text är skriven av min kusin Lynx Vilden. Hon bor utanför Seattle i Washington, USA och hon är överlevnadsinstruktör.
2001 startade Lynx projektet Four Seasons Prehistoric Projects, som har som mål att förmedla det primitiva livets forntida färdigheter. Hennes dröm är att sätta samman en grupp människor som är beredda att leva ett helt år på stenåldersvis. Som en förberedelse för detta, har Lynx genomfört ett antal mindre projekt där hon har levt i flera veckor på stenåldervis i skogarna i Montana och Washington.
Artikeln beskriver hennes senaste projekt som genomfördes under sommaren 2007, "Living Wild in the North Cascades".
Lynx kommer att besöka Sverige i december 2008 för att hålla föredrag om sitt liv och sina överlevnadsprojekt.
"It's late summer 2007 and I lie awake, warm wrapped in buffalo robes staring up at the poles of the shelter that are covered in green boughs to keep out the light rain. Besides the prescription lenses of some of the participants, our group has been out in the North American wilderness for weeks now with only the clothes we have made, the food we have gathered, the shelter we have built.
After a nine day weaning period we are living in a way similar in material culture to how a small group of native Americans may have lived here in a temporary hunting group before Europeans ever set foot on their continent.
And yet here we were the Europeans: no plastic, no glass, no cloth, no metal.
We subsist using the less modified elements of nature: stone, bone, wood, bark, clay, fire, hide, and fur.
The fire is probably still alive buried in the ash from last night’s embers but if it has gone out, one of us must get our wooden fire kits and twirl up a new coal: no matches, no lighters, no flint and steel.
I don't put on my deer hide moccasins when I get up because they will get wet on the damp forest floor. I don't need them anyway, my feet are tough from being bare all summer, they will warm up by the fire.
I look under the deadfall traps that we have set up that keep the mice from getting at our food stores, its amazing how quickly they discover our camps. Two traps are triggered, but there is only one mouse. I’ll have it for breakfast while I'm heating up the tea water.
Making my way down to the central fire hearth I notice how quiet my footsteps are on the damp needles. It would be a good morning to go hunting. A couple of the men in our group have already left, taking their wooden bows and stone tipped arrows with them to stalk or lie in wait of the wary deer.
The fire is already going and a woman brings an armload of sticks and dumps them on the pile of firewood beside the creek.
It's stopped raining so we set the fish racks up in the warmth and smoke of the fire and while she goes to fetch more water from the spring nearby I settle two large clay pots for tea into the coals. They wont take long to boil with stone lids on but I don't want the flames to lick at the rims or they might break. We are fiercely protective of our precious cooking pots.
I gut the mouse quickly with a small razor sharp sliver of obsidian (a type of glassy volcanic rock that has cooled slowly under the Earth’s surface) it’s actually sharper than a razor. Then toss the mouse into the coals head, tail and all. I turn it a few times then rub off the charred fur and pull off the feet and jaws so I don’t chip my teeth on their hard teeth and claws. Crunch, munch, munch – three bites to a mouse, the head is crunchy and creamy, the middle is chewy and the last bite is the best, we call it the rump roast.
Two more sleepy-eyed women join me and we laugh and joke as we wait for the tea water.
By the time the tea is ready there are five of us gathered round chatting and planning for the day. We divide the days allowance of dried meat that is kept wrapped in a large rawhide envelope and some wander off to pick berries or work on personal projects.
The clouds clear and like lizards we seek the warmth of the morning sun.
The hunters return with shining faces and numb toes. They have seen deer but had no chance for a shot. Understanding the habits and routines of the animals is vital so it's not been wasted time.
We have been successful with fishing. It's taken some changes in technique to figure out how to catch these high mountain lake trout. We started off using grasshoppers for bait that is pretty fun hunting in itself and one can always eat the grasshoppers instead. Our line was made from corded horse hair or dogbane fiber and our hooks from bone or thorns. We tried weighted abalone lures then switched to a fly fishing style, the bone hook floating on the surface with a little piece of feather tied to it that yielded some success.
I have a bow too though I’m not really a very good hunter yet. I’ve been making new arrows and I practice for a while shooting with the blunt tipped ones at a soft tree stump.
I think about how women deliver and nurture life with their bodies and how men have traditionally been the ones who take life in order to sustain it. I don’t enjoy killing but it is a necessary skill that I keep working on and there is something magical about gliding soundlessly through the forest, all senses tuned with a hand made weapon poised for that moment of expectation. Sublime.
We are going on a group expedition today up to a high basin where we’ve discovered a good crop of pine nuts. They don’t grow down along the creek beds so we are all taking our baskets to gather them together.
We found some several days ago as we were out exploring this rugged country. The sticky cones of the White Bark Pine grow on the high, dry Southern slopes and we were lucky to come across them as they were nearly ripe but hadn’t yet opened and fallen to the ground to be discovered by squirrels and other rodents. We gathered as many as we could and headed back down to Home Meadow as we had come to call our camp.
Roasting the whole cones in the fire we could break into them revealing the large calorie-rich nuts.
The energy return for the arduous climb was considered positive and subsequently some of our women set out the following day returning with many of them.
Besides the promise of more nuts, we know that there will be a full lunar eclipse tonight too so we decided to experience it from the high alpine meadow.
Some of us gather up our gear and head out. The rest of the group will follow later. We mark the faint trail for them with arrows made with sticks.
It takes several hours to climb.
It will be cold tonight at this elevation and even though the buffalo robes are heavy we will be glad for them when darkness falls.
A new fire must be built. Our group works together smoothly and efficiently after the many months of preparation for this time. Most of us gather and break firewood for the long cold night, we will need a lot, while two set about preparing to drill a fire: kindling, tinder bundle, adjusting the bow drill kit and finally when everything is in place the ember is produced. This also is like magic.
Far in the distance we think we hear a call, we have a system of hoots that we recognize between us, and three of us head down toward the other group whom we fear may have gotten off the trail.
Just as dusk begins to stir night shadows we find the women who came up behind and had indeed lost our trail. All relieved we return to our evening meal that is being prepared by two of our group. Every night we rotate cooks and each new meal has something of a different flavor.
Our food generally consists of dried or fresh fish, dried buffalo meat, fresh small game, bear fat-the richest and most coveted of food supplies, fresh corral mushrooms, dried morel mushrooms, dried nettles, dried cattail roots and flour, dried saskatoon berries, fresh gooseberries or huckleberries, dried bitterroots, fresh thistle roots, fresh pine nuts, fresh greens, toasted balsam seeds, dried seaweeds - another much sought after commodity for it's salt content.
As we wait for our meal we enjoy the camaraderie and re-tell the stories of our day.
Dinner is always appreciated even when there are too many bitterroots for some people's tastes. Everyone is ready for a good cooked meal. We give thanks for the bounty of the day and each wait expectantly as the food gets served. We watch every ladle full with hungry eyes.
The big pots and each of our bowls are always scoured for the last morsels before they are rinsed and stored upside-down to stop the nighttime visitors from leaving their calling cards. There's almost nothing so unpleasant than to find mouse poop in your bowl or spoon next morning.
My mate and I are tired and we carefully make our way in the darkness that consumes us as we leave the ring of firelight with promises to be awoken when the moon eclipses.
We hear the soothing sounds of singing and chanting as we drift off for a couple of hours and are then awoken by the wake-up call.
The full moon shows the first tiny bite that the Earth’s shadow has cast over it as we join the hearth fire again. We watch with awe despite our understanding of this natural phenomenon. What would the Ancient Ones have thought or said? We cannot know. With it’s reddish hue in full eclipse the moon disappears behind the ridge and we wonder and hope she returns.
Dawn comes, crisp with sparkling frost and a new sun rises strong and clear. This is aliveness in all its raw and sensual being.
My mate and I seek the peaks to witness the glory of the morning. There we find another glory seeker and we revel in the shadows that creep up the ridges and spill into the valleys stirring the day awake. Did the Ancient Ones come to the high places to greet the dawn or was this just a modern frivolity? No matter.
Back at camp there are some that still lay huddled close to the warm embers to catch more sleep. Hunters creep off with bows in hand.
Success yields four tender grouse in the old style: by stick and rock and arrow. We pluck and gut and cook two of them savoring the rich and succulent meat while saving the others for dinner.
Weary from the short sleep and the long hike we head back down to Home Meadow.
Just another day living in the Stone Age."