My Dad, the Woods Wizard



For one reason and another, I've been spending the second coronavirus lockdown with my parents in the county. This has been a great opportunity to get some extra nature-time in, featuring the coolest tour-guide ever - my dad, the Woods Wizard.


For his entire life Dad has been the outdoorsy type. When I was small he was a member of a local militia company, and until I was in high school he took yearly trips up north to hunt for bear and moose. He has always had a beautiful vegetable garden in the back yard, and childhood after-dinner adventures often included a walk to find liquor bottles and trash on the side of the road.


In May 2020 he retired from a 35-year career as a paramedic. Combined with a pandemic that has shut down everything fun, Dad has really had to find his own methods of entertainment. Recently, this has included constructing his own little campsite in a nearby pine forest. Every other day or so he disappears for a couple of hours to his hidden refuge in the bush where he can practice different methods of hanging out comfortably in nature. This includes experimental fire-building, home-made camp stoves, and using found objects to create a cozy little Canadian paradise.


Recently he allowed me to join him on one of these excursions, and it was a beautiful experience of enjoying nature in a non-destructive and harmonious way. Everything Dad brings out to the woods with him comes home at the end of the visit. Everything that stays at the site was found in the forest.

Aside from the gloves (which came in with us this day), everything in this picture was created using things Dad found on the side of the road or in the forest itself.

This tree fell naturally a couple of years back, and Dad has been slowly consuming it for his fires.

I now know why I am a hoarder of Altoids tins.

Sparks courtesy of a pocket-knife and ferro rod.

"That's an interesting stove, Dad! Did you make it yourself?" "Yep! It's called a 'Fancy Feast Stove!'"


"...Like the cat food?"


"Yaaahhh."

Definitely a wizard.


Thanks Dad for letting me get this glimpse into your alone-time activities, and for instilling a lifetime appreciation for and love of nature.

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© 2015 Lauren Hedges