Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains
its original dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Last evening, Oliver and I attended another workshop with Jim Robertson out at Malibu Creek State Park. We arrived at 3:30 and stayed through the rising of the full moon until after 9:00. We learned how to start a fire from little more than a nest of pine straw, a rock and flint, a bow-like tool and some serious back and forth movements. Here's the City Lady, getting ready to fire up.
Oliver, of course, is much more talented and created quite a fire with the help of Jim:
Jim taught all of us how to create a burn bowl. The burn bowl is a primitive container that you make by slowly blowing on an ember that you've placed in the center of a split piece of wood. The blowing is a slow and mindful activity. Jim told us that you can do it over a period of days.
Oliver took to this with his usual focus, blowing slowly and steadily until the ember had carved out a small indentation. Over the next few hours, the indentation became a dark bowl with smooth sides that Oliver periodically scraped out.
Jim told us that the bowl is a part of us and we are a part of the bowl.
Oliver then carved the piece of wood, softening and rounding the corners. He'll sand and polish it at home.
I guess I could make metaphor here -- the deep breath, the slow out-take, the burst into flame, the ember that erodes the grain, the carving out, the smoothing -- but I won't. As Jim said, the bowl is you and you are the bowl.
Oh my God, I am in love with everything about this. Everything. And that last picture of him looking at the camera undid me. I am in tears. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Exquisite the burn bowl and the important knowledge of How To Build A Fire something that has served me well.ReplyDelete
A light in the darkness. I am enchanted. Fire is so right, this time of year.ReplyDelete
He's holding an armload so burning straw!!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful experience for him...my eldest would love that!!ReplyDelete
He is one with the bowl. This is fantastic. I remember in my teens learning how to start a fire the same way, but nothing about the burn bowl. Fantastic experience for the both of you, and now all your readers, too!ReplyDelete
This is fantastic. You have a great teacher and a great kid, and what you are doing and learning together is amazing.ReplyDelete
I thought I was pretty outdoorsy, but I've never patiently created a burn bowl or spoon, and now, I have to. Thanks.
I think you are so wise to follow the things that galvanize your boy. He is a spirit warrior. His center is so intact. Breathe mama. He's on a different and inspired path. Follow his lead.ReplyDelete
Seriously more cosmic than any outdoor training he'd be getting here in North Florida. Seriously.ReplyDelete
And it's beautiful.
I love this.ReplyDelete
I love Jim and everything about Jim. Oliver should apply to go on "Survivor." He'd rock it. I just met with a new spiritual intuitive that talked a lot about burning as a form of manifesting.ReplyDelete
You are such a great mother....I love everything about being outside, learning things that matter, being with your son and the fact that you had the courage to take him out of a place he wasn't him. You done good and so has Oliver.ReplyDelete
What an incredible experience for you to share....you are both very blessedReplyDelete
Now that's what I call an education! Bravo.ReplyDelete
this is fantastic what you are doing! i want my son back, to be oliver's age again; we could start over...ReplyDelete
it's just so great, elizabeth. i hope you can take in, on those days when you are so exhausted you can't see the forest for the trees, what a gift you are to all three of your children.
I second and third what is being said here: what you are doing is so good for Oliver. You can see it in his face in these pictures. Love the thinking behind this ritual. Keep on keepin' on, Elizabeth dear. x0 N2ReplyDelete
He wouldn't get to do THAT in public school. Way to go, City Lady!ReplyDelete
Look at you! And so good for him!!!ReplyDelete