7 Old School Ways to Relish Summer
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Seeing
the Light: Why Sun Exposure May Be Good for Your Eyes
like living Primal in summer. Certain aspects just come easier:
the copious fresh
produce, unlimited outdoor exercise, long daylight, ample sunshine.
True, those of us in the warmer states have some year-long advantage
here. Nonetheless, summer remains my favorite season – probably
a result of my New England roots. The brevity of the season there
inevitably inspires a true carpe diem attitude. Wherever you go,
however, I think summer brings with it a sense of adventure and
spontaneity. Even if our school years are (decades) long gone, we
still embrace summer as a kind of “holiday” from the routine. For
many of us, the season is a time to explore, travel, and live outside,
relegating the house to role of mere storage unit. There are the
elaborate vacations, the well-planned day trips, the sporting
events. Today, however, I'm thinking along nostalgic lines,
some old school pastimes that invoke the (somewhat endangered) ease
As a kid, my
favorite summer days and evenings were all about playing rough,
running free, and living like the young savage I was. Needless to
say, by the end of the day, I was wearing and eating
the elements. Here are a few of my favorites – little to no
equipment or planning required. Some, you could say, have subtle
survivalist elements. Others are just an afternoon's adventure or
an invitation to lose yourself in a few hours of outdoor daydreaming.
is about enjoying the best of life after all.) Each of them in some
way, I think, fit the Primal theme, and they're family friendly
to boot. Here's to kicking it old school this summer. Enjoy, everyone!
I'll just say
it: we don't appreciate the dark enough these days. Caught up in
the world of 24-hour
illumination, we've lost touch with how to live at night as
our ancestors did. As Richard Louv noted in Last
Child in the Woods, many urban children have never even
been in darkness before. They represent and feel more dramatically
what our society as a whole has gravitated toward in recent decades:
a fear of and disowning of natural darkness.
On the nights
when I got to stay out late, I relished wandering into the thick
of the darkened woods. My heart would beat faster. My palms would
sweat. I felt like an alert animal, excitedly crossing a mysterious
threshold. Yet, within a few yards I was one with the shadows.
There's a more
practical Primal lesson to be absorbed as well. Many have written
about the modern undeveloped sense of night vision. Paul Shepard,
Peter Nabokov, and others explain that the peripheral vision (compliments
of those handy rod cells) we inherently use to “see” our way through
a dark trail accesses a primitive level of consciousness – the primal
“unconscious” as it's often called. We can see finally
when we stop thinking, when we let these long-buried, primeval abilities
take the reins. For a young child, this comes naturally. For the
rest of us, it's a skill and adventure worth rediscovering. Check
out your local recreation and environmental chapters, which often
host night walks or at least moonlit walks during the summer.
It's not exactly
“leave no trace,” I realize, but it doesn't get much more raw or
earthy than this. (Make a mud shirt while you're at it.) You've
got the sun, the mud, and the water. (What more does a kid/Primal
type need?) Truth be told, it's just walking through the water,
but that never dampened our exuberance. You can easily burn an afternoon
alternatively gliding and rushing through the water, stopping as
often as you want to inspect something curious along the banks or
to check out the wildlife crawling or swimming by you – if you haven't
scared them away. (Plus, there were always the fits of laughter
after someone flipped out about a leech – or several – on their
leg.) We did it barefoot when left to our own devices or in old
sneakers at summer camp. Done stealthily, you can snag yourself
a snack, which leads me to the next pastime....
No cooler or
kitchen here. Try on the old school scouting endeavor of making
a fire and cooking up – right there in the dirt and sticks – whatever
you can hunt, catch, or gather (observing state laws of course).
Those fish or crawdads you snagged creek stomping? How about cooking
‘em up beachside? Make your feast as recreational or survivalist
as you want. No need for matches or a Bic. Go hunting for some kindling
and good fire bow materials. Want a brush up on primitive fire building?
Check out this article.
the rest of the article
July 1, 2011
© 2011 Mark's Daily Apple
Best of Mark Sisson