Friday, March 21, 2014

The Great Outdoors

The other day our neighbor dropped in for some pleasant conversation.  During the course of story swapping, he told me that he was taking his family camping.  It was high time, he said, to introduce his kids to nature, and not the nature found in one's back yard.  What can they experience, he stated, by spending a moment or two around trimmed shrubs that surrounded the family pool.  The man rented a campsite in one of our state's really great parks.  But as our conversation continued, he told me that his kid's greatest concern was not the fear of bears, snakes, wolves, or coyotes.  And, having to walk a short distance to the public facilities did not appear to phase them.  The problem?  The kids wanted to know if the campsite had WiFi for their smart phones.  Almost sheepishly, he asked me for advice.  I really do not like giving other people advice; truth has a way of burning a bridge.  

Humans need to reconnect with nature.  Even though we have manged to alienate it, nature still is a part of us.  We need to spend time in the woods, forests, and fields, take hikes along riverbeds and sit in front of a shimmering lake.  People need to feel the earth against their naked feet and splash water in their faces from a mountain waterfall.  And not just once in life, but as many times possible within a month.  

Do you feel the need to de-stress?  Really?  Then take your ass out of the house and away from anything electronic.  Find a tree, sit underneath and just breathe.  You will be surprised.  Play in the dirt:  garden, plant trees, and hold the earth in your hands and smell it.  Do you want to strengthen your kid's immune system?  Let them play and roll around in the earth's soil, let them get good and dirty.  It washes off.  

Making a connection today with nature is truly a spiritual quest.  But it did not used to be this way.  Materialism ran rampant and humanity was pulled into its vortex.  Like a Black Hole, materialism sucked the humanity out of us and our connection with nature was lost.  We were disconnected to what should be normal and natural for our species.  We forgot our roots, we forgot our sacred relationship with nature.  It was like a bag was put over our heads.  But, I think that we allowed it to happen.  Specifically, in regards to this subject, we allowed the addiction to technology to overcome us.  Technology is not necessarily the problem; the addiction to it is the problem.  We need to reconnect with our roots and with nature.  The thing is, Mother Nature can cure us of many of our ills and addictions, but only if we allow it to happen.   

It took a minute or two before I told my neighbor my thoughts.  I told him to build a fire, to let it get blue -hot.  At that moment, I said, take the smart phones not just from your kids but your wife's also and toss them into the fire.  Then add yours to the flames.  The guy looked at me like I just told him to burn down his house.  That's the problem when you give advice, even when it's solicited.  I sure as hell was not going to tell him to build a cell tower in a state park.  I smell a bridge, burning.   

                                                 Copyright @2014 Terry Unger


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