Greetings from the Northwoods,
Bright stars and mustache icicles, the snow and the silence…I love these. There’s a certain quiet cold that you get up here in this part of the country. Community and understanding, pure living water and a real connection with the food we eat…I love these too. Natural teachers surround me and to be back at the school is an honor. I have much to learn, and as I do I’ll pass it on to you.
A few moons back, we cooked over the hearth at Mashkodens. A snaky half-mile walk through the snowy woods and around the frozen ponds on a skinny deer trail brings us to a cluster of birchbark wigwams and earth lodges. We started a fire and roasted venison and vegetables over the open flames as we told stories well into the night. It was time to head home. The moon was just a sliver and my eyes began to adjust to the darkness as I walked the trail with Thorn and Nanada. I was tempted to shine my headlamp on the path but the ladies encouraged me to walk like a fox. I thought they were just being funny with words and I continued to struggle at keeping my feet on the narrow trail.
“Have you heard of Fox Walking?” they asked me.
“I can do the Foxtrot but I’m not sure what you mean by Fox Walking,” I joked back.
“Try this,” they said…”Start with your heal and move slowly. Be mindful and put the outside edge of the foot down first and roll it flat. Before you put any weight on it, feel what’s beneath you and reposition if necessary. Feel that connection with the earth and find your foothold, strong and silent. Repeat.”
So together we walked that slow half-mile through the woods in total darkness. What a beautiful lesson in patience, to be mindful of each step. Try it for yourself. Fox Walking will stop your feet from snapping twigs and these quiet steps will allow you to see more wildlife, enhancing your hearing as well as your sense of smell, which will help you feel a stronger bond with nature.
Now you can teach a child how to walk like a fox…