I spent this past week in Portland participating in a five day skill share organized by TrackersNW called the Nature of the Village, The week was loosely structured but jam packed. It was organized using a model called Open Space that uses few rules but requires the participants to take ownership and responsibility for what they want to learn and what they want to share with others. Each day was decided and organized by those who were there to learn and share. It worked amazingly well and I saw energy, knowledge and creativity bursting out of people as the week progressed. In five days I learned about knot tying, knife sharpening, bird language, bow making, wilderness survival kits, making red cedar tincture, awareness games, bow-drill making, and coyote skinning, And that was just the workshops that I attended. I missed out on many more. I also shared with people my knowledge of making tin can wood/gas stoves and singing in three part harmony; both of which were well received and appreciated. The constant throughout the week was the building of a 25 foot Umiak, a traditional skin-on-frame whaling boat, that utilized energy from the entire group over the course of the week. By Friday the wooden frame was complete and ready for the skin. Friday night capped off the village week with a wild and local foods potluck, a talent show, and me leading folks through some square dances.
I have a few days to rest before the next jam packed social event, The Portland Old Time Music Gathering which, starts this week. It will be crazy, fun, and socially overwhelming as usual. And, of course, chock full of amazing music.
Next stop Louisiana. See you there?