Thursday, December 14, 2006

Choctawhatchee Songlines

I have been doing some walking near the Choctawhatchee of late, to scout ivory bill nesting or feeding sites, mainly feeding sites, and thinking about how I can best use my senses to discover an ivory-bill while not getting lost. In "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales, I came upon a concept which is aboriginal, called "songlines." It is rooted in aboriginal spirituality but in a nutshell, it is the singing of songs about landmarks as one walks the lay lines of Australia. This made a great deal of sense to me as a means of not becoming lost should I venture off a well-worn river path which I have wanted to do.

I can read my compass and tell direction from the sun but forest cover can be disorienting and I do not want to have any mishaps if I am out alone, which I often have been. I don't feel very adept with my GPS as yet and getting lost or tipping over in a kayak are things to avoid! Thus far, I have done neither of those things...

I had been noting landmarks on my walks but singing landmarks makes a great deal of sense to me since I can easily remember them in a song, being a singer of reasonably good memory when I want to remember a song. So I can sing "gully, robins nest, gopher hole, chinkapin, bark stripped pine" and the like as a means of remembering just a little better when out.

I'll have more to say about this as I practice and read about aboriginal spirituality and how this concept fits into their spiritual beliefs.

Notably this book has also given me a great deal of information about what behavior and mental and emotional attitudes make for survival in dicey or dangerous situations. I decided a long time ago to use my skills more effectively with regard to sizing up humans. Being outdoors walking in forest requires sharper survival skills than I have had thus far.