While I travel this MooseBoots path, I sometimes get derailed. It happens to all of us ... at least most of us. I have a job that pays bills. Therefore, the job takes a good deal of my time. It follows then that I do not have the vast quantities of time I would like to be able to dedicate to this endeavor. So, things slip through the cracks; nature takes its course. I believe this, too, is a learning opportunity.
As I've stated previously, I have been given some hides to work. They are all in various staged of completion. It has been nearly a year though. When the snow started to fly last winter, I stored them in what I considered a safe way - salted those that were not completely tanned. In spite of my efforts, I found that at least one of my hides, a moose, has been destroyed. What use did serve for me? What purpose did it have for the ecosystem at large? Was it a waste?
For me, this was a fantastic learning tool. It first gave me some experience in working large hides. I spent at least 10 hours fleshing this hide. The time working with this hide taught me how much pressure should be applied with the fleshing knife to properly remove the flesh. It was a pleasure to share time with the spirit of this animal, to express my heart-felt gratitude for its gift. It was definitely hard work - after working for several hours a day, it would take a few days to work out all of my stiffness. I enjoyed the physicality as well as the spirituality of the work. Obviously, I learned that I need to complete the job within as short a time as possible ... freezing did keep this hide intact through the winter. Perhaps, these lessons could have been learned by reading Deerskin to Buckskin (which I would like to buy), but first-hand experience is always more instructive for me.
The critters in the yard have also benefited. As we used the wood stores throughout the winter and spring, we found many nests made of moose and deer hair. The squirrels and chipmunk had built nests in the stacks of wood. The mice also played this game. In fact, last week the girls were looking at this one, which was still occupied by a wee little mouse.
The hair that had been removed during the tanning process also went into the compost pile. The compost has been used in all of the raised bed for growing our incredible garden. The garden does not provide all of our food needs, but each year it provides a little more.
The hide has provided a home for a whole host of other beings - the flies, bacteria, molds, etc. While these may not seem desirable, one must consider the benefit of providing habitat to increase the biodiversity in the area. Surely some of the desirables befitted from the presence of those less-desirables. I have noticed, which I have not before, that we have a few red squirrels around now. Could this be some benefit from the rotting hide? Who's to say?
Of course, the dogs has been entertaining themselves with the hide, too. We use it as a training aid ... the beagle can come out, off leash, in the yard as long as he does not run off. The hide has provided hours of entertainment. This has trained him to listen better when we call him.
Am I sad about the loss of this hide? Yes. Has it provided new knowledge and wisdom? Yes, just not in the intended way. So, the question posed ... was this a waste? Have my efforts with this hide, on this MooseBoots journey, been in vain? No, it has provided many benefits for my little corner of the world. It has shown me that I am an integral part of nature. I can take the gifts offered to me, but the Mother has the ultimate power to take those gifts not accepted quickly enough and give them to other who need them. Nature does not allow her children to waste, if we accept our role as a part of the natural world. Thank you, Mother, for your gifts and your wisdom. I will follow you lead and return the remaining part of the hide to the forest so that others may thrive.