Excerpt from my journeyman’s journal in 2002:
At last I stand on the ridge. The arduous climb has lent me a thirst. I drink fresh water from my leather canteen or ‘skin’. I am grateful. It is a good container. Better than you would think. It is my critical capsule, enabling me to travel far today. Without it I could not. I traverse a dry land. Not at all like the land I call home. But now I can discover places beyond the familiar. I feel close to those people whose footprints made these dusty trails a millennia ago.
Quenching my thirst from the flask reminds me of something my grandfather once said about how laterally intertwined our story with nature is:
“I cannot drink if I do not know where to look. But it is not just knowing where the water lies. Once I have found the water I cannot carry it until I know how to contain it. I cannot sew my canteen until I have learned to preserve its leather. I cannot obtain the hide until I have learned to hunt the animal. I cannot catch the animal until I can track. I cannot track until I have learnt to see [nature]. I cannot observe [nature] until I have learnt to become aware. I cannot become aware of nature until I learn to value it. I cannot value it until I learn to live with it. I cannot live with it until I have lived within it.”