I have always loved abiding in natural environments. As a kid I was often wandering with my dog through the nearby forest. Through most of my 20s and 30s I worked as a wilderness guide, helping young people feel at home in wild natural environments as they learned to dispel the intensities in their lives. The vibrance of nature always seemed to offer us the greatest benefit, so I kept at til my own kids came along, and family life called me to put down roots somewhere. So here we are in a little farm house up Cowichan Valley. I can’t complain…
A big part of the guiding life was building shelter out of whatever was available. Debris huts, lean-to’s, tipis… usually not much more than a tarp and some rope – and sometimes less than that. The other key element was making a hearth fire to gather round and cook with. So long as we could keep warm via movement, metabolism, and an external heat-source, we experienced great com-fort (with-strength). And the abundant qi/chi/prana of wild nature was ours to absorb without hindrance.
As my guiding days wound down, Sadie and I first moved into a little cob cabin with a rumford fireplace I had helped build. The first few mornings of waking up in the cabin I felt great, but something about it had me baffled. I was feeling refreshed in much the same way I felt when sleeping in the great outdoors. But I was now surrounded by 4 walls and a roof. Here I was in a warm comfortable home, feeling virtually all of the vibrant energy I usually only felt outdoors. This was an altogether new experience, leading to a major ‘AHAAA’.
I have been building dwellings and wood-fired heaters from natural materials ever since… Handling these materials keeps me mobile, healthy, and subtly in tune with wild nature. So… I love what i do.