One of the beauty of primitive skills is how it connects us to our surroundings. As we learn firemaking, cordage, foraging and tracking, our surroundings unfold in rich and diverse ways. At the core, primitive skills are about principles. How to use a cutting edge effectively. How to twist fibers to increase their tensile strength. How to protect ourselves from the elements using shelter concepts founded in thermodynamics.
The programs we offer in Colorado are a great foundation. Homeschool students and workshop participants develop strong foundations in primitive skills, and our local landscape begins to take on a new vibrancy. When we take students on the road, as we leave our comfort zone, the skills they have practiced are more obvious as the familiar trappings drop away.
This was very apparent on our recent Teen Expedition to St. Croix. It is hard to imagine a landscape more different from our Colorado stomping grounds. Humid, warm, lush, everything felt new. Our teens rose to the challenge however. They made bowdrill kits out of sea hibiscus. They learned to make cordage of snakegrass and wild cotton. They learned many local plants, and on a survival expedition eat new plants and a large variety of sea life cooked over the fire.
Learning primitive skills is a way to exercise our creativity and problem solving. This then has a ripple effect into other aspects of life, giving us a new perspective to examine the obstacles in our path.