Thursday, October 11, 2012

Living versus Surviving

While researching information on a story I am working on, I came upon some information on various Native American Indian groups in North Carolina.  I began looking where certain tribes were as well as the ties they had to other tribes.  Some of the tribes moved elsewhere after settlers came into the area.  There were some that had languages consisting of words from tribes located across North America indicating tribal mergers at some point and time.  I also learned of various living customs and techniques.
This weekend I was able to hit the deer stand on Saturday morning.  When I say Saturday morning, I mean at 3:30am.  Trail camera photos indicated the deer were hitting the field near my stand around 4am, so in order to get in and not spook them; I had to beat them to the field.  I packed my mp3 player which also has radio reception, threaded my earphones through my shirt and under my face mask, and sit back and listened while waiting for shooting light.
I do not listen to music on the radio much.  Usually, the only time music is played over my truck stereo is when my daughter changes the station when I take her to or pick her up from dance class.  The sequence is something like this:
Julianne presses the station preset as soon as she gets in the truck.
“What are you doing?” comes my quick reply to her actions.
“Changing the station.  No one wants to listen to talk radio.”
“Uh, yes I do.  It is my truck, my stereo, and I am listening to this.”  I press the preset back to the station I was listening to.
“Not anymore!” she shrieks while hitting the button again.
I again press the button, “Don’t touch it!”
Halfway home, she leans forward as if she has an itch, or is picking up something, or…anyway, she quickly presses the music preset once again.  It stays that way until I head to work the next day.
Now that I have run a tangent to my topic, let me get back to the real story here.  I was listening to Coast to Coast AM while waiting in the stand.  It is a show that runs overnight and usually deals with conspiracy theories, UFO’s, aliens, and the such.  Music puts me to sleep.  Talk radio, especially something like this, keeps me interested and my eyes open.
The guest that morning was discussing how to survive ‘the oncoming disaster.’
I’m not going to delve into the December 2012 lore, nor am I going to write about the two comets coming in 2013 and how they may actually be planet X and planet Niburu as told in Sumerian tablets.  A quick Google search on any of that will provide plenty of hours and websites of entertainment.  But I did start thinking about the whole survival thing.
I was listening to a man who was discussing how people do not know how to survive anymore.  People cannot live without certain amenities such as electricity, air conditioning, and plumbing.
And I thought to myself about the Native Americans and the European settlers and how they ‘survived.’  Not all of them survived, I know.  That is how we have the Lost Colony.  But survival now is a lot different than survival was back when this land was not yet the United States.  We have television shows starring people such as Les Stroud and Bear Grylls explaining to us how to survive.  Their shows throw them in the middle of nowhere for seven to ten days.  They have to SURVIVE.  Yet, the explorers and settlers and Native Americans did not only survive, they LIVED.  They knew how to make it in the world with what the world offered them.  Our world now bears little resemblance to the world then.
What secrets have we lost?  When did that basic instinct of living become a not-so-instinctive survival quality?
I learned some of the great hunting tribes would cover themselves in mud.  The purposes were many.  First, the mud would cover any human scent.  We now either have to use a spray, high priced clothing, or put ourselves in an enclosed building with windows on each side that allow us to go after our game from several hundred yards away.
Second, the mud offered camouflage.  Head out to a swampy area and pick up a handful of mud.  Then walk over to a tree such as a pine or oak, or even a river birch.  Hold your hand near the bark.  The mud is like the perfect camouflage.  So that high priced clothing that in Realtree or Mossy Oak with the Scentblock emblem costs how much?  The mud is a LOT cheaper!
Third, the mud helped battle those pesky insects.  You know the ones.  The North Carolina State Bird; the mosquito!  Horseflies, gnats, no-see-ums…they cannot penetrate a good caking of mud.  Why do you think pigs and elephants roll around in the mud?  It gets the bugs off!
Mud is just one secret that we no longer have in our arsenal of survival; of living.
I became a bit envious of the knowledge our ancestors had.  Sure we have electricity, air conditioning, plumbing, and even truck stereos with station presets and mp3 players, but our knowledge of luxuries is nothing compared to their knowledge of living.

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