Earlier this week I drove 20 miles south down WI 35, a roadway punctuated with greenery, gentle rolling hills, a few curves and some more rolling hills. I took one left turn and meandered slightly east from the St. Croix river valley and sank deeper into the forest with every passing mile. Then I abruptly remembered to pay attention and turned right at the correct fire number and parked in from of a pole barn. A van had pulled in right before me, and a man covered in grass clippings was walking across the lawn in greeting as I approached. The occupants of the van got out and joined us. I had arrived.
The destination? The site of “The Great Back to Nature Exchange” as visioned by herbalist Kelley Hagenbuch. She and her family moved onto 30 acres of wooded Wisconsin wildness late last year with the mission to live close to the land, and she’s passionate about sharing nature-based wisdom and cultivating a sense of community around realigning with ways of being that foster living attuned to our environment, rather than separate from it. Our purpose of the day was to tour the site and do some planning for the event that will take place in early September. After brief introductions, we started off into the woods, stopping frequently to discuss the plants along the trail, identify mushrooms and commune with the resident grouse, all the while absorbing the energy of a place that is still mostly wild.
The man piloting the van that drove up before me is Kenton Whitman, founder of ReWild University, a school with a mission To help human beings experience their own personal re-wilding, thus discovering the passion, curiosity, and abundant joy that is every human’s natural birthright. At the event he’s going to lead people in things like primal fitness, fire starting and woods awareness/meditation. Some of the other offerings of the day by some other really interesting people will be keeping goats and chickens, beginning bee keeping, tanning hides, campfire cooking, solar electric systems, wild food identification/medicine making, wine making, drumming, storytelling and woods first aid. I’m going to lead a session or two of grounding yoga on a fabulous grassy knoll and offer participants the opportunity to talk about how starting to live more sustainably might look in their current life situation. Visualize a hippie back to the land festival in the 1970s, minus the drugs, add solar power, scale it down by a few hundred people, throw in some guitar strumming, keep the drumming and add a pot of soup simmering over the campfire for those who decide to stay the night in a tent, and you’ve pretty much got it. After all, happiness is being outside, with a little homegrown food and good company on the side.
In short, it’s going to be a day full of opportunities to reclaim knowledge that has been central to human success long before the advent of technology. It’s a day dedicated to remembering our roots and tapping into the parts of ourselves that know how to exist aligned with natural ways of being on the earth. It’s a day to learn or revisit something ancient and refreshing and sink into an energy that reminds us that there is a rhythm pulsing underneath all of the chaos of modern society. It’s a chance to remember that it’s a rhythm that wants to reclaim us. Maybe, with time, we’ll learn how to let it.
Will you join us?
September 12, 2015; 9-5. Camping available.
967 210th Avenue
Somerset, WI 54025
$45.00 per person. $25.00 for kids accompanied by a parent/adult ($5.00/hour for childcare)
Please register by September 5, 2015 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 763/245-3894