The Age of the Weekend Warrior
When did we start running from each other, rather than running to nature? So often, when people explain their motivation for outdoor adventures it sounds something like “I wanted to get away for a bit,” or “I just couldn’t sit in the office any more.” Nature has become a vehicle for escape; it has become something so different from our everyday lives that we seek its cover to hide from cell phone service, bills, and road rage. We so desperately need a break from the stress of living indoors, that the outdoors, with its un-mowed grass and sloppy edges, allows us to see another world, if only for a weekend.
I wonder though, when were the “outdoors” packaged into this neat, orderly concept? How have we become so far removed from the land that nourishes our food, from the water that hydrates and cleanses our bodies, from the wind that is our oxygen? It seems we are more connected to social media, which merely feeds our egos, and self doubts, than we are running rivers. We are more connected to screens and plastic toys than we are endless skies.
In the age of the weekend warrior, we get outside when we can; we go camping once a month, maybe. It is better than nothing, but the outside world is becoming smaller and smaller, both physically, and in our experience with it. We are forgetting that we are animals. We are the human animal, we are great at creating straight lines and laying concrete, but at one point, before laser levels and chop saws, we were really great at living outdoors.
Now, with lives completely enveloped in society, too often, nature is an escape, rather than a destination. This mentality keeps the natural world separate from our day-to-day lives. Viewing the world as something separate from who we are, as humans, limits our experience with it, we are attempting to fit a round ball into a square hole. Nature, outside, the natural world, whatever the label, is who we are; it is where we came from, and ultimately, where we belong.
The Earth cannot be defined by straight lines and it is certainly not something just to be seen on the weekends. It is okay to, occasionally and respectfully, wander off trail, it is okay to get dirty and to smell like a campfire, and it is recommended to, whenever possible, skinny-dip in any river or large body of water. After all, we are humans, we are messy, and we do not fit into any mold, so, rather than running away from society, run to the Earth, run, as fast as possible, to the places that make you happy.