Inspiring spiritual and cultural transformation through connection with wild spaces, with the help of God and neighbor, to create a world where wildlife and wild spaces are known as neighbors worthy of our love, kindness, compassion and care.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Forest Runes, by Nessmuk

As we begin a new year, I'm excited to be reading a book of nature poems along with a number of friends who follow my blog or have participated in the Wildlife Tours I've led.

George Washington Sears, also known as "Nessmuk" was a prolific nature wtiter and outdoors person. Nessmuk lived in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania and he spent much of his time in the Asaph Wild Area and the Pine Creek Gorge. He also made trips to the Adirondack's in New York.

Today I've read the first pages of Nessmuk's Forest Runes.  If you'd like to read along, you are invited to purchase a copy which can be found at this link, or you can check out the free online copy of the book here.

I've often wondered how George Washington Sears came to adopt the pen name Nessmuk. Fortunately I've found my answer in the prologue of his book. It turns out that George Washington Sears became friends with a Native American member of the Narragansett tribe whose name was Nessmuk, which George tells us means "wood drake."

George's friend Nessmuk was very influential to him, mentoring him and teaching him the ways of the woods.
In George Washington Sears, a.k.a. Nessmuk's own words, "...I remain yours sincerely, Nessmuk, which means in the Narragansett tongue, or did mean, as long as there were any Narragansetts to give tongue, Wood-duck, or rather, Wood-drake. Also, it was the name of the athletic young brave, who was wont to steal me away from home before I was five years old, and carry me around Nepmug and Junkamaug lakes, day after day, until I imbibed much of his woodcraft, all his love for forest life, and alas, much of his good-natured shiftlessness...and this is how I happen to write over the name by which he was known among his people, and the reason why a favorite dog or canoe is quite likely to be called Nessmuk." (Forest Runes. George Washington Sears. Pantianos Classics, 1887. Page ix-x)
Wouldn't it be special if we all had a mentor in the ways of the woods?

Is there someone special who has, or who is helping you to get in touch with the beauty, the wonder, and the blessing of the woods; of wildlife and wild spaces?


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