Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Have you seen that movie "Into The Wild". Well today I met that EARTH MAN...although unlike the movie he didn't die, he is alive. He survived 8 years in the mountains. Alone and living entirely from the Earth. His name is Tom. He is the cook for the cast and crew for the film I am working on "The Man In The Maze" here in Alabama, USA (www.themaninthemaze.net). I had the privellege of meeting him and chatting with him about his experience...
Tom grew up New York and when he was 19 years old he left the city for the mountains where he spent 8 years with just himself and the Earth. He started off with a knife, a tent, a flashlight and some clothes including a pair of boots. That’s it I asked? "That’s it" he said. He said "human cruelty" made him want to leave the busy life for the mountains. He started off in the mountains upstate New York, then went into New Hampshire, Vermont and then Virginia. He saw 4 people in 8 years. These supplied him with shoe laces, boots, batteries for flashlights. he lived with no deodorant, no tv, no internet, no heating, no air conditioning, no supermarket, no phone. AND he had himself and the earth. He lived purely off the land.
In a typical day he would gather firewood and water. And then go out and look for food...
"I hunted rabbit, dear, racoons, squirrel, oats, wild carrots, dandelions, nuts (acrons, pine cones), berries, bark, milk thistle, lichens. Food varied. I sun dried meat to make a jerky. When I got sick, like stomach viruses, I ate charcoal, took it right out of the fire and ate it. It filtered my stomach. I made pots from clay to cook my food. And I made fire with string (from animal tendons) and sticks. Every 3 days I always moved around. It’s all about intuition out there. I was pooing twice a day at least."
"If you eat a poisonous plant, try to remember what plant you ate, and look around the 3 feet diameter around it and there will be a healer. That’s how mother nature keeps it in check. If a plant is toxic, mother earth puts plants around it to keep it from spreading." Fancinating.
Tom on meat eating...
"The human body was made to eat meat, but not in excess like we do. Maybe once or twice a week. You know people have meat for breakfast, meat for lunch, and meat for dinner. I had meat twice a week, maybe 3 times in the wild. If you get a deer, there is only so much time you can carry your deer. You eat when you can as quick as you can. If not, I would spread it around for other animals. And if not it will go back to the earth and give nutrients for the trees."
Do you think food provides us humn beings with existence?
No, it’s not the food. It’s the energy that gives us existence.
But if we didn’t eat we would die?
No we wouldn’t.
What about anorexic people? If they don't eat, they get sick and die?
They don’t know how to gather energy from the land without eating. I don’t feel like food is essentially life. Energy is life, food is only part of our being if we don’t know how to get it otherwise.
What was your favourite to eat out in the mountains?
I don’t have any favourites. I keep myself open.
How did you clean yourself?
I made soap from oats and animal fat. I boiled it into a soup and then it solidifies. He made it into a soup...with animal fat and oats. Cooked it together and then it solidifies.
How did you hunt the animals?
By making a bow and arrow out of a deer or better a elk bones, vertebrates. You take the tendons (the hard part that hold the muscle to the bone) and strip them down and melt it down into a glue, and take the shaft into the center of the vertebrates and fill up the center of the vertebrate and half of the shaft sticking out the top and half out the bottom. Then let it sit over night and then take the ribs, 4 ribs, take out the center of them and then take tha tendoin boiled down like a glue, and then take one rib put it over boiling water, straighten it out, then take the tendons and put it on the shaft and then that glues it. Then straighten another rib and put that on the bottom of the shaft. Take another rib with a curve, and place the curve facing away from you, and you would use that tendons to make it as a glue. Set that all aside and let it dry, and then take the tendons and put it all over the bones and that makes it a shalack and now you have a bow. Also hold back some of the tendoins that you have pulled off at the beginning to make your string, and make a 30ft length of string. That way when I have a bow I can go ahead and give it back to the earth when I’m done with it.
"Be kind to the Earth, be kind to the animals and be kind to the humans."
I am going to have more from Tom in tomorrows blog...and if you have any questions for him please let me know :)
Challenges: I wonder how long I would last in the forrest? I really don't think I could kill an animal. I would enjoy finding water, gathering wood, and picking nuts and berries. Not sure how to start a fire though!
Triumphs: Today I got present to that I have not had any sugar or chocolate, chips or lollies for 123 days! and that is liberating!
What I Ate Today:
Breakfast: A punnet of gorgeous blueberries. A ginger tea with a squeeze of lemon.
Lunch: 2 avocados with walnuts (mmm I love putting the walnuts in the avocados and having the creamy avocado and crunchy walnuts in my mouth). A nectarine.
Dinnner: Potatoes. Indian Dahl (yellow lentils cooked with Indian spice and herbs) with rice and cabbage.
Dessert: Chocolate balls with walnuts.
Snacks: No snacks.
Exercise: A walk to the gym in the fresh Alabama air to the gym for a stretch in the steam room ;)
242 days to go!!!