I have been thinking about the value of taking kids outside. But I am also thinking about the value of getting adults outside too. While many of today’s youth are spending more and more time in front of screens, the same is true of their parents (Chicken or egg?). It is a lose-lose equation leading to a whole host of health problems, a disconnect with nature and a loss of the excitement and solace of outdoor activities.
While musing over these things, some pictures appeared on my screen saver from a friend’s wedding in Lake Louise a couple summers ago. As with most weddings we had a great time catching up with friends and cutting loose on the dance floor, but we also took advantage of the opportunity to climb around in the mountains.
In high school and university a couple of my friends and I made a habit of doing flips and superman dives off of high stuff into snow, water, or whatever – as often we had the guts to do it. Many years have past, and boys may grow into men, but you cannot take the boy out of these men…or something.
So after hiking up one peak, we found the perfect rock to launch off – landing in the soft spring snow below. It was purely ridiculous, exhilarating and fun. I plan to always inject a good dose of the latter into life. Why should kids get all the fun?
This may look like a washed up Superman, but it is Jasper Blake:
Here he is again:
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen: Dr. Paul Harnett!
This guy got through high school English classes by stealing essays from my locker and handing them in to get good grades. Essentially he is illiterate, but no matter, he is now a surgeon.
Take home message? Don’t break your arm while in London, but DO get outside and goof around like you did when you were a kid. Even better, take a kid with you. At the very least it will get you some physical activity. At best it will put a smile on your face and make you feel like that kid – full of energy and excitement. What could be better?
It only seems appropriate to give the final word to Edward Abbey here:
One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.