As the summer/fall seasons winds down and as the skiers start to anticipate the beginning of their season my thoughts have turned to how I have come to enjoy the outdoors and what has led me to where I am at today. How did you end up outside? What is it that first led you to spend time outdoors?
My guess is that it was not some video game that had an ultra realistic depiction of the sport or sports that you now partake in or some awesome background rendering in that game of a forest. For most of us it will be the result of interaction with others, whether it is family or friends more likely than not someone enticed us outside with stories of the joys they have found through their experiences, or as a child was dragged along by parents. Whether those experiences involved backpacking, boating, camping, biking or any other activity, or for that matter inactivity as you may just like to sit in your favourite camp chair and watch the sun rise or set. No matter the activity that you like to participate in someone led you outside and showed you the joys to be found there.
You may like me have been doing this pretty much all your life, my parents had me outside well before I have any memory of being there, born in the late fall by the next summer only a few months old I was in Algonquin Park, a couple of years later a tour on the St. Lawrence River. That has been followed over the years by countless camping trips, many thousands of miles boating under sail and power, and more recently using paddle power. Visiting my grandparents in the summer often involved a drive to one of their favourite parks as that is where they spent as much of their summers as possible. As you can see I started early and am still heading out, my children’s stories will be similar though their days outdoors started in sailboats then camping with us and now on their own.
These thoughts lead me to the following questions, have you ever thanked the people who led you to enjoy these great pastimes? Secondly are you passing the love on, leading others whether family or friend to an appreciation of the natural world with which we are surrounded? Caring for and preserving it for future generations will depend on this. Many live surrounded by urban sprawl, both upward and outward and have never seen the beauty of a sunset or sunrise over anything but a towering apartment complex, never having seen a night sky that has not been diffused by light pollution. Having no connection to or feeling for the places outside the cities they will have no reason or compulsion to help preserve it.
Give thanks and lead on.