This post is part of the 21 Days to a Manlier Green series
Today, on your path towards a greener and manlier life, I want you to take a hike.
Get out of here!
Nature is Beautiful
When is the last time you connected with nature? Do you remember the last time you walked in the woods, crisp leaves crunching beneath your boots? Can you recall running your hand across tall grasses, slowly waving in the wind, as you walked across a field?
Nature is a place to relax and recharge – to explore the world and to explore our inner-self.
During my lifetime, I’ve logged thousands of hours out in nature. Regrettably, as of late, I’ve been lax in paying homage to the church of nature. Graduate school and life have filled my hours with other activities.
Yet, a few weeks ago, at the first sight of spring, I took a walk in the woods. The sun was shining, warming my pale winter skin. I walked aimlessly down a path, smiling ear to ear, thinking, “Nature is beautiful.”
Nature is beautiful.
Man and Nature
We are part of nature. Nature gives us clean air, fresh water, nourishing food, and the materials to build our modern world. We need nature, not the other way around.
Our modern lives, however, take us away from nature. Man wasn’t built for the cubicle, he was built for the wild – hardened in the forests, plains, mountains, jungles, deserts, tundra, and the places in between. Our species has spread far and wide, given our ability to adapt, work together, and use nature to our benefit.
All along the way we survived, not in spite of nature but because of nature.
Technological advances will bring cleaner transport, better health care, renewable energy, and greater access to the vast wealth of human knowledge and experience. Technology will help us to better use nature. Yet, there will always be a need for nature.
There’s no substitute for nature.
Take a Hike
You don’t have to hike the Appalachian Trail to reconnect with nature. You don’t even have to go to a park with trails. For many people, just taking a carefree walk around the neighborhood, looking at the urban plants and animals, will be more nature than you’re normally receiving.
Want help finding a trail to explore? Here you go:
American Trails: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/statetrails/
Great resource for local state trails, from urban exploring to off-the-beaten-track. You’ll likely find a lot of great trail just waiting to be hiked.
The hike finder at the bottom of the above page is much like American Trails. The articles, however, feature some amazing photography and inspiring trips all around the world. Life is an adventure, do you want all the action taking place in office building or deep in the wilderness. What stories do you want to tell your children and grandchildren? The time Josh knocked the water-cooler into the printer or the time you spent 4 days solo hiking a tropical island off the coast of Australia?
In the Word’s of Another
I’ll in closing, I would like to leave you with an excerpt from a writer far better than myself.
“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, hut shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.
Nature says, — he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods is perpetual youth.
Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, —no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.
The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, — master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature