Monday, February 27, 2006

Time is Precious

I debated whether or not I should've sent the below letter off to the editor of our local newspaper. I was afraid that it sounded to radical, or to impractical. I mean come on, kids have to go to school, right? Could you imagine what the world would be like without schools? Children don't really know whats best for them. We do!

Well, I got beyond those thoughts and sent it off anyway. I thought about some of the great writing I've come across questioning and criticizing our systems of schooling. I looked back on my own experience of 13 years of schooling. I hated it. I would've rather been outside. And I've read a lot of good authors that've had similar things to say. Like: Jon Taylor Gatto, Daniel Quinn, Derrick Jensen and Carl Rogers. It's nice to know that I'm not the only person that hated my schooling experience.

Here is the letter I sent:

Time is Precious

This letter is in part response to last weeks article titled, “Spooner Schools must cut-again.” Deep down inside I was glad to see the district has to cut its budget again. The less money that people have to pay for a system that doesn’t benefit the well-being of each and every child the better. And I want to be clear that I’m not criticizing the employees of the system but the system itself.

I bet if we asked all of the students who attend Spooner Schools if they wanted to be there an overwhelming majority of them would say NO. This is sad but true. And that is one the primary reasons the system exists; to condition our children into spending the precious time they’ve been gifted as human beings into doing things they don’t want to do. After all, we only have so much time before we die. And we’re forcing our children to spend their time watching the clock (The best piece of technology in the classroom) wishing away the hours of their life waiting for the bell to ring. Wishing away your time is like cutting off the fingers on your hand, once gone you never get either of them back.

And this conditioning very effectively carries over into our adult lives. Try asking people on the job if they really want to be there. Again, I bet the majority would say no. Essentially, we live in a culture where the majority of its members spend the majority of their time wishing they were doing what they wanted to do. This is a crime. Judging by the high rates of depression, suicide, alcoholism, rape, child abuse and violence, spending our time this way just isn’t healthy. I might add the rates of all these aren’t declining.

If you’ve read this far ask yourself, how would you spend the majority of your time if you had 5 million dollars in the bank? Are you living out the dreams you had as a child? Or do you find yourself wishing the hours of your life away? These are all important questions to ask ourselves as our children spend most of their waking hours within the confines of a block building learning what they’re SUPPOSE to learn instead of what they want to learn.

“We begin with the children. It is imperative to catch them in time. Without the most thorough and rapid brainwashing their dirty minds would see through our dirty tricks. Children are not yet fools, but yet we shall turn them into imbeciles like ourselves, with high I.Q.s if possible.”
Dr. R.D Laing

Friday, February 17, 2006

Out to Find a Tracking Stick.

It's almost noon here in northwest Wisconsin and it is Five degrees below zero. It doesn't look like it is going to get much above zero today. The sky is clear blue and there is a strong wind blowing out of the northwest. Despite the frigid temperatures, I did make it out to my sit spot to say my Thanksgiving Address and do some wandering in my study area. I had intended to visit my sit spot no matter what, but what really fired me up to get out there this morning was this great story by Josh Fecteau about his encounter with a Fischer near his study area. Josh's story just goes to show that you just never know what gift will present itself while your out poking around in the woods.

This morning, I was in search of a sapling to make a tracking stick. So, I strapped on my snowshoes, grabbed my hatchet, bundled up and headed for a clump of elm trees that were blown over just to the northeast of my study area. I'd say it took me about a half-n-hour to get over to the clump, when it normally only takes five to ten minutes at normal walk. One of the reasons why it took a little longer than intended was that I found an impression in the snow. The impression, to me, looked like a bird with its wings out stretched had landed there then flew away. And lying in the middle of the impression was a gray colored breast feather and some scat. There were no other tracks around this impression. Nearby there was two dead trees with the tops blown out of them. Perhaps the creature that made this impression and left the feather was perched in one of them? Maybe it was after a creature underneath the snow? A vole? Shrew? Mouse? You can see why it took me a little longer to get over to the elm trees.

I never did find the sapling to make my tracking stick. And I still haven't figured out what made the "flying saucer" impression in the snow. But I hope to someday to solve mystery.


I just finished Case Files of the Tracker, by Tom Brown Jr. I've read a lot of Tom's work and really like it. His work is one of the reasons why I'm taking the Kamana Program. I was actually first introduced to the tracker by my Chemistry teacher as a junior in high school. Wow! That was fifteen years ago! How I wish I would have headed out to the Tracker School when I was in my late teens or early twenties. Oh well, hind sight is 20/20.

Anyway, I highly recommend picking up Case Files. There is a lot to learn in that book.


I posted this quote over at IshCon. I really like it.

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." Ed Abbey

Thursday, February 16, 2006

New Links

I just added four new links. If your interested in tracking and the outdoors, or you've read the literary works of Daniel Quinn and Derrick Jensen you may find them of interest.

1. The College of Mythic Cartography- Alot of great writing from the perspective of a tracker and Ishmael reader.

2. Mother Anarchy- Great writing about motherhood, anarchy, primitive living skills, and other related stuff here.

3. - If you're interested in getting to know your nonhuman neighbors this is a great place to check out. Great writing too!

4. Josh Fecteau's blog - If you like the outdoors, and want social justice check this blog out. Josh writes about some of his experiences tracking and poking around out in the natural world. Good storytelling and photographs here!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both

John Kurmann just sent me this article by email. I've always wondered how so many writers and thinkers can talk about economic growth with out talking about the extinction of the human race. I mean, industrial civilization is causing the greatest mass extinction that we know of. And I think this Question and Answer by Daniel Quinn shows what the consequences will be if we continue causing this mass extinction.