I am a hiker and many years ago I met a guy called “Zeke” (Zeke was his “trail name”–I never knew his real name) on the Appalachian trail that shared all this great ‘”country wisdom”. I initially thought it was just dubious folklore –but surprisingly the advice he gave really worked for all of us during the 16 weeks on the trail we spent with him that year.
Basic things like using a lavender plant cutting on a burn to heal it without pain or scarring or how to find a freshwater spring in the woods using basic dowsing skills with a piece of wood. Everyone on the trail called him the “Granola Guru” because he reminded us of a free spirited, happy, healthy hippie. He wore a white pin on his shirt that was simply labeled, “Less.” and it always invited people to ask him about it–which he greatly enjoyed and took pleasure to share his story of minimalism and how “everything we need to know is in nature”…. and that, “our ancestors recorded this wisdom but over time we forgot it all and now turn to ridiculous commercial solutions because we just don’t know better.”
He was quite renowned in the Appalachian Trail hiker world as a wise, caring, veteran thru hiker (hiking from Maine to Georgia non stop) and was basically just a cool guy (we guessed he was in his late 50′s about 10 years ago…) ….he didn’t live like society expected and yet he seemed far happier, content and more in touch with life than the rest of us on the trail. Most of us now believe he passed away– as nobody has seen or heard from him in years…
I prefer to think he simply disliked his growing popularity and now lives a quiet solitary life somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mt’s of Virginia where he came from.