Primitive Fire

Life is all about learning new things. I don’t know how anyone lives with a fixed mindset, or maybe I do. There was a period in my life where I thought learning ended with school. Once college was over, that was it. The only place to learn was in a school setting. I fully lived in that mindset for quite some time after college. Sure, I learned new ways to handle my career and workload, but I never thought I could learn to be a business owner, a home cook, or baker, or many of the things Chris and I have now accomplished in such a short time together. Renovate two different homes entirely? Not us, surely.

Boy, was I wrong, and I am glad I came to realize that life is all about learning throughout the long term and that you can learn from anywhere and everywhere. Where we live there is a wonderful county park system that offers programs on so many topics. I always take a look to see where I can learn something new; as well as what my family can learn. A few weeks ago, I took a knife skills class to learn how to better cut, chop, dice, and slice all types of food – and quickly, too! Sometimes it’s easy to learn via video, but there are times in-person learning is truly a gift.

Learning how to use flint and steel.

A few years ago, I signed Chris up for a “Primitive Fire” class in our parks. It was a Father’s Day gift and I thought he might enjoy it. Well, he enjoyed it so much he suggested I take the class. This spring was the first time the date of the class lined up with my schedule. So, I jumped at the chance to learn all about the evolution of fire. Having gotten a B.A. in Anthropology and missing those studies for quite some time, this class scratched that learning itch. I want to go back to college for a higher Anthropology degree now!

A simple spark and you have fire!

The instructor took us on a journey the first hour to learn about the evolution of fire and how truly it was the one thing that set us apart as a species as we evolved. Fire, such a simple yet not so simple thing that has revolutionized our world and how we live today, and still does. Without fire, there would be nothing of the device, nor internet, or otherwise you’re reading this on. Think about that.

Mechanical fire.

Throughout the three hour class we learned various methods for starting a fire. We learned about creating a tinder box of materials we can save for later use. We discussed that in reality, just carry matches and/or a lighter with you on hikes or survival journeys and how this course was for learning, not always practicality. Though, the skills we learned I’d say are useful, as they really made one think outside the box for how to get a fire started if you truly were deserted and needed warm or to cook food.

Simple stick friction fires.

There are different methods for starting fires like mechanical or friction. So many more, but I forget the names already! He showed us how to make simple tools to get punk wood that can be lit and then the fire grown with dry grasses and eventually a larger fire with other burning materials.

The class was really cool, although the weather left much to be desired. It was freezing cold and rainy, so we didn’t use refraction with the sun to light a fire, but knowing the triangle of needs for a fire and some simple methods gives me a little more confidence in my survival. Lastly, we learned how to start a fire just using one piece of bamboo wood. Broken down into smaller pieces and scraped for thin pieces, we smoked and started a fire with our bare hands! It was not easy by any means, and my arms were tired. This is where community comes in to work together!

Thankfully, since it was a fire class, they had a fire on a grill going the whole time. Many of us huddled around the fire, the irony not lost on me how literally important fire is in our every day lives while we were chilly learning how to make fire.