Sunday, January 16, 2011
Okay, so my reading of Undaunted Courage has had me envious of the outdoors skills of Lewis & Clarke and their men. I've mentioned before that they make their own shelter, kill buffalo, elk, deer, and frankly anything that moves (though bears gave them a hard time), cook their own food, hike sometimes over 25 miles a day (while carrying all their supplies!) and so on.
[Quick disclaimer: I'm not envious of their ability to hunt, per se, as I am not a fun of hunters today shooting at living creatures that are no danger to them and that cannot fire back, but that's because shooting animals on your own is not as necessary today as it was then. Today it's sport; back then it was survival. As such, I am incredulous at the ability of these guys to survive on their own like that. I suspect that today's sport hunters are trying to recapture a little of that unnecessary and non-existent manliness of a bygone era, but that's another entry.]
Anyway, I love writing outside, and I have to add that I'm a fan of living outdoors and hiking, and I regret that I don't have the time to do so anymore. I like camping and hiking so much that I have done so in the fall and winter, and would again. It's quiet; it's peaceful; you live in Nature and outside of yourself; you get away from it all; everything slows down and you view your existence with much more clarity. I even write much better outside. I wrote before that I would actually go to my father's shed in the dead of winter, and write on my laptop in the small light that he's got in there. It is very easy to imagine that you're in the middle of nowhere over there, just hearing the sounds of the wind and the chill of the cold.
A guy I know, Roy Scribner (I always forget to ask him if he's related to the famous Scribner publishers), does take his family to the outdoors, and camps with them, and just has an awesome time. He knows everything there is to know about such things, so if you have any questions at all, ask him here. Anyway, this sounds like Heaven to me, and I certainly would've thought so as a child. He and his family take camping vacations up and down the West Coast, where the REAL forests are--unlike where I am, which can be best categorized as "woods." But I'll take 'em. Anyway, getting the kids away from the computer (where I spend WAY too much time!), their cells, their games, their Ipods, etc.--this is probably more necessary now than at any time in the history of this country. For the adults and for the kids. It makes me think of a lost time when things were much simpler and when, frankly, there may have been much less to do. More time to read and write!
That's what's holding me back right now--too many options.