Every now and then, I would dedicate a tiny bit of my free time to do this little exercise and get myself a prompt to ponder about. Something totally random. And sometimes this something can open my damn eyes and spread a little light for me.
You should try this out sometime.
Think of a random two-digit page number (you could use your favorite numbers). Find the nearest book that is sitting around and turn to that page number. The first full sentence is your prompt for the day.
So I turned to page 48 of the book “Walden” by Henry D. Thoreau:
“There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest.”
— Henry D. Thoreau
I sat me down to ponder.
Thoreau lived alone, in the woods, on the shore of Walden Pond for two years and two months. He was building his cabin when he wrote the above.
I imagined him to sort of having an “oh shit” moment when he realized he needed a dwelling and couldn’t find someone to build it or buy the tools he required.
Shit, how do I even build a cabin?
Shit, I need Google and there’s no wifi here in the woods.
I am so thirsty right now and there’s no water and I have been drinking my own piss.
(P.S. None of that happened, of course. And Thoreau only started living in the woods after he completed his cabin.)
In the course of building his cabin, something must have hit him. An epiphany. The self-reliant simplicity in building your own house. The deeper relationship between the simple and natural process of construction, and ourselves.
I believe the urge to create and work with nature is deeply human. There is always something about it that brings us this sense of pleasure, accomplishment, and confidence.
The below pretty much sums up the experience.
Plus, the world is getting cranky these days.
And will get crankier yet. Boeing 777s disappearing into thin air. Freak storms. ISIS attacks.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m no doomsday prepper either. But wouldn’t it be good to selectively learn some basic know-how to provide directly for ourselves in at least a few aspects of our lives?
Like locating and purifying water in the wild. Starting a fire and building a shelter. Identifying food sources and cooking outdoors. Making simple tools and furniture. Basic first aid. Skills that can literally save our lives and those of your loved ones should an unplanned crisis arise.
Anyway, I am done here.
Now I must return to construct my fire and cook a rabbit for dinner.