Walking a weeded path on a Saturday afternoon in the bright skies of Tennessee, I stumbled upon a stream. There, I encountered an old man enjoying the outdoors while he was eating raw plants. He was surely living what I often dream. Immediately, my admiration for nature rose from the gem that sat before me.
With a humble greetings, he asked for me to join him, then offered me a snack. I accepted his invite, sampled his food, and he was grateful for this unplanned contact. There was small talk on his philosophical quest and why he was fond of the creeks and dense forestry.
With a small bag of edible insects, including the chirping crickets, by his side, he began to set snares to trap small game. He possessed the enhanced skills of a survivalist and a naturalist because he lived in harmony with nature and profited from various aspects of the land.
He spoke to me of wildlife and their cycle of life. He spoke about the benefits of fertile soil. He demonstrated how to bring forth invigorating herbs, extract from the leaves, and he shared some natural healing oils. I was astonished and somewhat stirred by a chance encounter.
From the plant roots to stem, he explained what was healthy, and he cautioned me from why certain elements are not. Then he took a chicken snake from his bag and explained the plan for his early evening delight, and indicated that he would add rabbit grass in this nutritious pot.
He prepares a natural dish daily, one where honey suckles, sassafras, and added crushed pine cone are combined to serve as a healing spice. That is before he gathers wood for an evening of warmth in a small secluded cabin — a place that is submerged in noble advice.