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Friday, September 16, 2011

Reevis Mountain School (AZ) Independent Study

Deep in the Superstition Mountains, I wake before the sun rises. Stepping out of my yurpee(which is like a mix between a yurt and a tepee) I listen to the forest come alive. I let the chickens, turkeys and ducks out around the garden and orchard, which is lush with fruits and vegetables. I spend the morning working in the garden, then sit down to breakfast which is fresh from the land I work. Then the day is filled with lessons about herbology, primitive living skills and organic agriculture. In the time I have been here I have learned a wide spectrum of skills; from how to treat a rattlesnake bite with prickly pear cactus to what the best growing methods for different vegetables are in a desert environment. I now know how to prepare salves and tinctures, hot to make friction fire, how to pair foods that best support the body’s needs. Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance has taught me much more than simple skills, though. I have learned to take responsibility for my well being as well as the planet’s well being by being a part of a self-sustaining and eco-conscious community. Peter Bigfoot, the founder, and his wife Patricia have become like family to me. Peter is a well known herbalist and is best known for his much-publicized July 1976 solo trek across the Sonoran Desert. He walked 85 miles in 15 days, and brought no food or water, relying strictly on what could be foraged along the way. Patricia is an incredibly talented writer and tough homesteader who makes delicious baked goods that make everyone around quite happy. Both of them have a kindness and wisdom to them that has taught me so much. The school draws people from all over the world who hold to the values that are taught here. I have met people here from all over the country, and even one man who came from Australia. I have learned so much by getting such a wide array of perspectives, and two things seems to pervade all who come here: one, they are very in touch with compassion for the earth and it’s people, and two, they are all really cool.

What is even cooler, though, is the fact that I am getting credit through Prescott College for my time as an intern here. Through the school I designed my own course for my studies at Reevis Mountain School. With support from many at the college, including different teachers, fellow students and even the lovely people in the admissions office I was able to put together ideas to create a course through which I could make studying what I want for college credit a reality. Independent study, one of the best ideas in college history. The fact that almost all Prescott College students create at least one speaks much of the open-mindedness of the school, as well as the drive of the students here. Never have I seen or heard of college undergrads doing such interesting work, with such freedom. Another reason why I feel beyond lucky to have found Prescott College, a place where independent drive is encouraged. Where you can study exactly what you want, and have all the resources and support you need to make your ideas a reality.

The garden and surrounding mountains

Peter, the founder, and I. I am wearing a mountain lion pelt that he brain tanned.

-Brittany Davis, 9.16.2011

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