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Today is July 12, 2020

Outdoors

Life after staying inside

By Tony Kinton

Life after staying inside

Social distancing at its finest. These anglers are enjoying a simple afternoon along a stream.

The sunrise was spectacular. Yellow and orange peeping through friendly clouds just above the horizon, the source of those colors resting, or so it seemed, on treetops in the distance, those trees dressed for spring in their finest greenery. A pasture wearing similar hues beneath those trees and creating an expanse that proffered a welcome. All presented in a glorious form that could never suggest anything other than the ideal. But prevailing conditions spoke otherwise. We, when this particular sunrise greeted, were under shelter-in-place guidelines. The virus was raging.

And it may still be. These words are being written more than a month before they will be published. Hopes are high, right now while I’m sitting at the computer that the severity will abate. Soon! Regardless, if not soon it will abate. Things will get back, at least to some degree, to the old normal with which we were and still are familiar. No one knows for sure when, but changes will come and we will be free to ramble about, the outdoors waiting.

So, what are we to do with this renewed freedom? A great many opportunities are available, and don’t go thinking that all these demand great expense or far-away venues. More than we can get around to are virtually in our back yards.

Take for instance those sunrises like the one just mentioned — and there is one every day, a day in which to offer thanks for the blessing of life. These can often be observed from home. And for some of us with a propensity for birds, our own yards will suffice as a laboratory from which to watch, to learn, to admire. I saw my first indigo bunting on a feeder out the kitchen window last week (as this is written). My heart lightened, the day brightened, and I was filled with awe.

Don’t overlook fishing. I have often written that everything I really needed to live a happy and successful life was learned with my dad on a simple bream lake. Now let me quickly say that I do not dismiss my formal education. I learned there to open my mind, to think, to analyze things from the perspectives of others. I learned how to build an essay. But elements such as creativity and nurturing a dream rode the still surface of a bream lake. Perhaps the most important life lessons to come from a bream lake were respect and perseverance.

Dad and I paddled a tattered wooden boat around a curve in a bream lake and came upon an aging gentleman catching bream. He was then my age now. Old. I encouraged Dad to move closer so that we could get in on the action. He said quietly, “You wouldn’t want somebody to do you that way.” He was right; the lesson took. We had to press on, a heavy task with paddles, to another spot. Respect and perseverance sank completely to my core.

And there is camping. Tent, RV, travel trailer. No matter. Choose which you prefer. Campgrounds are open or will be open soon. Most if not all afford some quiet surroundings in nature. Any of these activities noted are not bad ways to get back to normal.

 

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information.

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