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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Headwaters Gathering - Autumn 2010

Headwaters Gathering
Headwaters Gathering

Almost everywhere I go, and amongst all my friends I have always been the “extreme outdoors” person. I am normally the most adventurous, most spiritual, and usually most knowledgeable in the outdoors (some people even label me as an “expert”). I am almost always the most “hardcore barefooter”. The sad part is most of the people I know who share my passion for the outdoors live in far off places, and I rarely get to converse with them except using the internet.

In the beginning of October, 2010 I was invited to a gathering just outside of Orangeville, Ontario known as “Headwaters Gathering”. The gathering is described on their website as “A network and community from southern Ontario and beyond. We come together to share skills that keep us rooted in the natural rhythms of nature and giving back to the land that supports us”. I have met some of the presenters previously and decided it would be a great weekend out.

The location was a little tricky to find, but there were some signs on the side of the road which said “Headwaters” which helped things significantly.

A long driveway took me up a hill to a small home and what looked like a pack of dogs standing around. A small sign directed me to parking in a large, grass field. There were quite a few people there.

Exiting the car with my husky Luka, I was immediately greeted by a few bystanders. I walked over to the large barn and examined the surroundings. Luka went over to make some new friends with the dogs which were running around enjoying themselves.

Perched on the top of the Niagara Escarpment, this rural property overlooked the entire valley below and an outline of Toronto could be seen far in the distance. It was tranquil, with no outside sounds. The crackling of the fire could be head behind me.

A young gentleman introduced himself and led me on a brief tour of the area, and showed me where the campsite was for the gathering. I chose a spot and set-up my tent.

Returning to the gathering spot, I was met by some fantastic and friendly people. Luka had the time of her life socialising with all her new doggie friends, and exploring the area.

I attended seminars from topics ranging from creating a fire without a match, to learning how birds broadcast forest news, even a mushroom hike showing me what are the best mushrooms to eat. The entire weekend was a learning and growing experience.

There were many people there who were living their lives close to nature, and completely “off-grid” or without any modern conveniences. They lived solely off the land in teepees, mud homes, and lean-tos. Some made their clothes out of buckskin from animals they killed themselves. There were many barefooters there who believed that by going barefoot, you are connecting with nature. Others believed that home schooling their children was advantageous to the conventional school system.

Saturday evening brought forth an amasing feast. The pot-luck which was attended by most of the participants included such things as chick pea salads, rice and bear fat, and organic shish kabobs. There were fresh cut green beans, fresh wild salmon, and even a bag of straight pretzels. I haven't eaten that well in many moons.

The evening brought a swap with things like knife sharpening services, and craft projects to singing. It was a spectacular way to spend an evening with everyone. Sadly, I was only able to stay for two of the three days.

There was no prejudice, name-calling, competitiveness, or any other unwanted behaviour. Everyone came together as a community to learn, grow, and network.

The kinship with the people of Headwaters I felt could only be explained as a gathering of the community. A community which is wide and varied, but plays an important part to a new consciousness rising in society. A consciousness of Earth-minded people living with a deep rooted spirituality, devoted to the glory of nature.

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