“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6: 26

Soft tracks through the frozen prairie.

This simple bible verse has fueled my interest in historical skills. Simply put, this verse shares a wonderful truth with the world: God has created the world, cares for all his creation, and will provide you with everything you need to persevere in this life. For over 100,000 years people lived as an embodiment of this principle neither sowing nor reaping. Nomadic hunters roamed the land believing their needs would be met if they invested the energy.

We know little about the lives of people in pre-history, but we can assume they were widely diverse across the globe. As you study pockets Paleo people, you do seem to notice a few reoccurring tendencies. The recognition a higher power existed and influenced the world, and the concept their lives were a small part of a bigger mystery called life seem prevalent across the world.

Another interesting aspect of Paleo people’s lives, is the fact their lives left a small impression on the world. Ancient people lived for thousands of generations and left the landscape nearly unchanged in that time. It is not to say people didn’t impact their environments and didn’t utilize the world to their advantage. The reality is they had an impact on their environment, animal populations, and possibly even accelerated the extinction of different species. It is a modern misunderstanding to view these people as static and content to watch the world roll by, hoping for enough blessings to make it though the next day.

In fact, these people were actively living in the world, both realizing a higher power was in control, but applying their own energies toward their survival searching for the gifts. They used stones, animals, plants, and anything else the land and God provided. Compared to our modern lives though, the impact of these people is hard to discern. In truth, they had achieved sustainability through their way of life. Though their existence makes up the lion share of history, finding evidence of this fact is difficult at best. In contrast, we are arguably living in a time where our “tracks” are the most discernible.

Soft Tracks outdoors is not a blog dedicated to a return to the Stone Age. In fact my interests lie beyond skills of the stone age to included 19th century mountain man skills, 18th century longhunter skills, modern outdoor pursuits and homesteading, bushcraft, and other skills where at the core is reliance upon the natural bounty. In fact, it wasn’t until the very recent past skills of self-reliance were part of the primary education of kids. Today, it is not.

I believe practicing historical skills of self-reliance creates an understanding of the treasure naturally available, and changes the perspective of people who practice them. It’s not about everyone regressing, as much as it is about keeping our historical knowledge alive in the world. Learning to spot value in a plant, where once you saw a weed, can teach you to notice all the blessings scattered about. Learning to use all the parts of a deer can instill a sense of resourcefulness you can apply to other areas of life. Finally, it’s about learning skills of self reliance in a world that places minimal value of such ideas.

Historical skills for some also reenforce the realization that God will care for you and will provide you with all you need. I don’t believe these skills are the only route to this destination however. I know it helps me and could possibly help others as well. Some experience God on a Sunday worship, and others may realize his glory on a Friday night deer hunt.

Please follow us as we rediscover historical skills, share insights from those who freely share what they know, celebrate the bounty of the hunt, deepen our faith, and learn to live a life of soft tracks.