Program Update: Basket Week

Pack Basket

Today was the last day of my basket class at Lynx Vilden’s Living Wild School. So many of us here this week are staying on for the summer immersion program and the prehistoric project as well. I have really enjoyed everyone’s company and am looking forward to getting to know everyone on a deeper level as the summer progresses. We all made the pack baskets that we will be using on the prehistoric project. It’s a simple, super light weight basket made from a frame of flexible sticks (I used Red Osier Dogwood) with a latice or netting of rawhide. It will work best with things wrapped in a blanket since there are large holes in the basket to keep the weight down. We also made Spruce Bark containers for collecting berries. After making the spruce bark container, I fixed up a cedar bark container that I brought up here with me as well. I still need to create shoulder straps for all of these baskets. I’ll use spruce root for the spruce basket (it won’t be very flexible but whatever), twined cedar bark for the cedar bark basket, and braintanned buckskin for the pack basket. I’m waiting until I make my buckskin clothes next week to use the left over parts for the straps.

Spruce Bark Container

I’ve been planning on keeping a journal and haven’t been able to decide how to chart the adventure. Lynx suggested to us that if we are going to journal to not use the “Day 1” or “July 1st” methods of time tracking because it will lead to us experiencing the program on a linear basis and that ends up making people not live in the moment. This adds to stress and generally leads to people leaving the program. It’s better, she suggested, to mark the days and weeks and time with events and themes: the basket week, the saskatoon picking day, bitterroot harvest day, etc. I think this is genius and it’s helped me shape my experience here. I want to live in the moment, and she wants us all to do that, and by picking themes of what we experience rather than the abstraction of time will keep us rooted there. From here on out, I’ll be posting blogs here in this way. Next week we will be finishing our hide tanning and then creating buckskin clothes. I’ll also be making a bark tanned raccoon fur vest. So, next week might be the animal skin clothing week. I’m just hoping that my hemlock bark tanned raccoon hides are actually tanned all the way through! We’ll see…

Cedar Bark Container

Lynx is a wonderful teacher and facilitator. She has a perfect blend of light-heartedness, sincerity and seriousness that I feel is very difficult to find in rewilding oriented schools. There is spirituality, but not heavy handed and dogmatic. There is a fierce need and urgency to connect and teach these skills, but not in a paralyzing way. There is structure, but not in a suffocating way. There is singing and laughter and making music and storytelling. Lynx has a great way of treating you like a new friend rather than a student and I really appreciate her for that. She likes to have fun, is experienced in creating fun and after spending a short time with her it feels contagious. I’ve really enjoyed this week, and as a sneak peak of the summer its got me feeling very at ease and inspired.

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