When I sat down to write my “N” post for the Blogging From A-Z Challenge, I figured writing about nature would be easy. Gaining an appreciation of “natural beauty” seemed like something I could write about without thought. After all, barring a natural disaster, it’s not very often we hear people talk about how ugly nature is. Nature’s beauty is sort of a given. Everyone knows that already. So why would I need to convince people to experience this beauty for themselves. A no-brainer, right?
Then why do so few people get outside and experience nature firsthand?
After some thought, it occurred to me that nature’s beauty has some major competition these days. Check out these examples of what I mean:
What breathtaking scenery! In the 21st century, computers can create the details of the natural world with amazing accuracy. Computers generate rain, animate insects, illustrate the wind, and place viewers right in the midst of it all. Why would anyone bother to go outside when nature can be experienced on a television screen from the comfort of the couch?
As good as those computers are, they can’t compete with the real thing.
True natural beauty can’t be computer generated. I’ll take hopping from one sun-warmed boulder to the next along Lake Superior over watching it on TV any day. I’d rather lie in the freshly cut grass and stare up through the leaves of an ancient oak tree than pick pixelated flowers in a video game. Take me to the ballpark where I can eat popcorn and come home with a slightly sunburned nose. I’ll take the real thing over the artificial substitute every time.
Now, the million dollar question: How do we get kids to pick the beauty of nature over the electronic version?I’m still working on that…
Without thinking too much about it: What is your most vivid, cherished memory of childhood? Your teenage years? As an adult?
She argues that those memories are related to what we did–not what we had. I’d go one step further and say that many of my own most vivid memories were about what I did outside. Like the tweet above suggests, when I think of my favorite memories, they aren’t of television or movies (even though I’m a major fan of both). They aren’t about things I did inside at all. Instead, I remember…
Reading a book by the campfire with my parents on Foote Pond.
Sleeping on the Lake Huron beach as a teenager (admittedly not all that comfortable).
Hiking with my son to the top of his namesake mountain–only to realize he’d fallen asleep on the way.
Seeing amazement on my sons’ faces when they first saw Mt. Rushmore.
Getting swept up in my kids’ glee as they flew down snow-covered hill on their sleds.
These are the things I remember–and the things I hope my sons remember, too. These memories are the reason my family is an #OutdoorFamily.
What are your reasons for getting outdoors? Are you an #outdoorfamily–or aspiring to be?