Graduation and Reflections
by Mireille Evans
The past 9 months at the Anake Outdoor School have been quite a plethora of new experiences, adventures, crafting, external and internal explorations and the creating and fortifying our connections with the earth, the natural world around us, ourselves and each other. This Anake year has been nothing at all of what I expected, and at the same time much more than I expected. The dichotomy of polarities existing at the same time and place in a way that is helping us grow and develop a deeper human experience. I came to this school eager, committed and driven to diving deep into the primitive living, bush craft and survival skill aspects of the program. I realized this was only a part of the curriculum and the majority of the program was dedicated to mentoring, naturalist skills, group processing and creating a sense of community within the Anake class.
I looked around and saw how many of my classmates thrived off of the creation of community that many people have never found in their lives. Thirty three individuals followed their unique threads of life to find themselves all on this land for 9 months to dive into the dynamic world of nature connection. These threads wove together a colorful tapestry this year as we witnessed the peeling off of layers of our classmates to reveal more of who their spirit truly is. This was a beautiful process to watch unravel and knowing that this transformational process was happening to me at the same time. The feeling of being part of a ‘tribe’ for so many of my classmates was invaluable.
This year I have spent more nights sleeping outdoors than in my entire life. It has been an amazing opportunity to observe the cycles of life more intimately than ever before. I have learned so much more from experiential participation than from books or any screen could ever offer. I am most grateful for all that I have learned. I feel I still have so much to learn and to remember of these old ways that I have not fulfilled from this year. However, I feel much more knowledgeable of who I am, I feel more confident with my ability to spend time in the outdoors with very little and most importantly I am so excited to go out in the world and share with the younger generations these old ways of being.
The footprints of this land, my classmates, apprentices and instructors have left tracks on my heart in beautiful patterns that I was not expecting. It is now time for us to all gather up our threads, which have a new shimmer to them, that was not there before this Anake year, and to go out and weave these threads into our own magnificent tapestry to contribute to our world.
Thank you to the instructional team, apprentices, my classmates and all the families and friends that helped to make this experience possible for all of us. Thank you to all of creatures of this place. Thank you to the countless generations of people that listened so intently to the land in a good way, and thank you to these people for keeping these old ways alive amidst our technological and disjointed world.