Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Simple Woodcraft - Outsider

When have you last spent time outside?  How long did you stay outside before returning to the comforts of the indoors?  What is the longest amount of time you have remained out-of-doors?

These are some of the questions I have been pondering lately as the frozen sleet ticks off the window and I feel all warm and fuzzy being separated from that little gift of Mother Nature.

I like being outside.  Being in the outdoors just makes me feel more alive.  I can feel the breeze on my face.  Feel the openness that you can't get in a building.  It all just feels "right" for me.

In today's world, we don't spend a lot of time outdoors in the outside unless our job entails it or we specifically choose an activity that keeps us outdoors for a while.

A lot of people spend very little time outside.  They go from their cozy house to their vehicle, then walk quickly from the parking lot to their work building.  Reversing the process at the end of the day where they sit on their couch and watch some TV before hitting the nice warm bed and starting the whole process again the next day.


These type of people are not outsiders.

My job currently keeps me indoors for long periods of time.  I have to get myself out there whenever I can.  I try to get out each and every day, no matter what the weather is, even if it is just for a few minutes.

I try to be an outsider.

Long distance hikers are outsiders.  They spend days on end outside in the elements, experiencing everything nature throws at them.  After a while being outside becomes the norm.  You start to feel funny when you go indoors.  It doesn't take long to convert to being an outsider.
If you have the time, try to spend it outside.  It could be a walk around the block or on a trail in some nearby woods.  Maybe take a weekend camping trip where you leave modern conveniences behind and experience the sights, sounds, smells and senses of nature.  It could be a long backpacking trip, where you carry everything you need on your back as your travel miles and miles for a number of days.  Or it could be a six month long through hike of the Appalachian Trail or one of the other long distance trails that traverse our country. 

The weather of this planet is just a fact that comes from being on a piece of rock that rotates on a tilted axis as it revolves around our life giving star.  The different weather conditions that this situation creates are neither good nor bad, they just are.  I have learned to accept each type of weather as it comes.  It isn't too hot or too cold or too wet or too windy (although windy is my least favorite), it is just cold, or hot or wet or windy.  I accept it as a state of nature's being.  I revel in each of the different types and find the things I like about each.  They all confirm to me that I am alive and I reside on a living planet. 

The conditions that these weather patterns produce in your body are really just a state of being.  When you are in touch with nature, its weather and your body, you accept each of these conditions as just a state of being.  Neither is good nor bad.  Of course being aware of how your body is reacting to the weather is important so you can do what you have to to ensure your body doesn't fall outside safe thresholds that could cause problems.  The human is highly adaptable.  When things are a little uncomfortable, we have many ways to make ourselves feel better.  Knowing the basic skills of maintaining or shedding body heat are key.

So, become an Outsider.  You will find many rewards immersing yourself in nature and reaping all its benefits.
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