You might think that growing up amid Midwestern fields, marshes and forests would have instilled in me an intimate understanding of the outdoors and the ability to proficiently navigate nature’s offerings. It didn’t. In fact, my years spent observing outdoors enthusiasts have raised more questions than answers, questions that tend to infuriate true naturalists, such as:
• Can any reasonable couple actually consider an outward bound weekend a romantic getaway when the itinerary includes tramping across dusty trails, bathing in leech-filled ponds and defecating behind trees?
• Why would reasonable parents give their kids a few dirty tree branches, a pocketknife and a bag of marshmallows and send them off to an unsupervised campfire where the shoving matches inevitably begin?
• Why do so many anglers avidly advocate properly releasing a fish back to the water (Gently push and pull the fish through the water to aerate its gills . . . ) after you just enticed it to swallow a barbed hook?
• Why does something as simple as the pure, uncorrupted experience of walking up a hill require hundreds of dollars of sophisticated hiking equipment and navigational gear?
• How can you not laugh when someone suggests pitching a tent? (“I see someone already has” is my stock response.)
Of course, my disinterest and ineptitude in many outdoors activities makes me something of an anomaly among my more adept, nature-loving peers. But when it comes to the world of accidental adults, I’m right at home. Once again, we reluctant grownups realize that true adults embrace outdoors activities with confidence primarily because they know what they’re doing. The accidental adults? Well, at least this one, not so much.
Nature may be God’s masterpiece. But a roof, four walls, a picture window and a thermostat are pretty damn beautiful too.