That's Jim Robertson, an instructor of aboriginal skills. In the above photo, he was demonstrating how to lie close to the ground and begin to move forward, tracking an animal. This man was wonderful -- craggy and handsome, he spoke of his deep reverence for the natural world, for animals and their environment. He told the kids that while he loved meat and ate it, he always took a bite knowing that the animal was a part of him and that he was a part of the animal. Jim doesn't believe in hunting or fishing for sport. He believes that we should respect where our food comes from and from whom.
Here Jim is showing the boys how to track a deer, how to slowly pick one's foot up and put it down, roll it in stay still and low and silent. It reminded me very much of what it looks like to do a walking meditation, and in some respects it was exactly that.
Here, Oliver is laying low like a deer, head down, unaware of a tracker behind him. If he heard the tracker, he lifted his head and the tracker, in turn, stood still and silent.
I love this picture, Oliver readying this boomerang thing that catches rabbits, the sun's rays over him. I think it's holy.
Here, Jim is demonstrating a bird trap. They worked for a long time on this, and it was intricate, careful and slow work. The other boys horsed around, but Oliver was completely into it.
Here Oliver is getting ready to shoot an arrow. I've mentioned it before, but The Husband is a sharp shooter, from his days in the compulsory Swiss bicycle cavalry (yes, he was in the Swiss bicycle cavalry). Oliver appears to have inherited his steady hand and eye coordination. A bow and arrow, a rifle -- anything requiring that sort of coordination and focus, is easy for Oliver and certainly a strength that was rarely recognized in a school setting.
Here's the broody sky that hung over us all afternoon.
I walked back up the trail toward the end of the day, cold and needing to warm up in my car. On my way back to get Oliver, I came upon probably twenty or more deer, silently nosing around a beautiful oak tree.
They stopped and twitched their ears, stared at me and continued sniffing and munching. I felt free for a moment, of every single care.
Here's Jim Robertson's website.