I just got in from a nice 45 minute walk this evening in the frosty night air. Wow, does that ever feel good and it never gets old! I really don't know how I could live if I couldn't spend time outside. Even though I grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, I was still fairly adventurous so I explored every nook and cranny of the neighborhood I lived in as a kid.
Just down the street from the house where I grew up, there was a giant hill that lead down into the Olentangy River Valley below. And the main attraction was the river, of course. Or as I considered it back then: my personal water park & playground!
My folks always told me that whatever I did, NEVER go in the river, it was just too dangerous because of the fast current. So of course we swam...and swam a lot! And we hung out looking for frogs, we fished and hung swings from the big old trees that reached out over the water. I remember building rafts like we were Mark Twain Characters, then floating downstream. Yep, even flowing over a little concrete dam once. That was a bit more excitement then I had bargained but god it was a blast. I never felt so free, not really a care in the world. When your a kid, it's always just about YOU. Me, me, me and I suppose that is the way it's supposed to be....of course that changes quickly enough once school and society start to exert their influence on a young person.
I swear we (the group of neighborhood kids I hung out with) spent every waking hour that we were not in school, down by that river. Most of the time it was innocent stuff (yes, later on as a teenager, it did become a hang out of sorts for the pot smokers, of which I was a member in good standing.) like playing hide and seek, War games (mainly WWII) which included digging all sorts of foxholes, trenches and bunkers (the remnants of which were still there the last time I checked in the early 1990's).
And we seemed to be outside in all kinds of weather, rain, snow or shine...like freaking postmen, ya know?! Nothing was going to stop us.....We just didn't care, I didn't care and as a matter of fact I loved bombing around in the rain or snow or whatever it was we were out playing in. It was funny, my mum always made me change on the front or back step when I was too muddy to come straight in the house.
I have just always enjoyed being out-of-doors, anytime, any season it doesn't matter. City or countryside, I enjoy it all. As I got older, I was fortunate to spend some significant time in the Rockie Mountains as well as the Grand Tetons...those were some of the best experiences of my life. I had a friend from High School that has hiked the Appalachian Trail several times, beginning when he was a Senior in High School. That is something that I have always wanted to do. Now I'm afraid that with my injuries, Hiking the whole Trail might be a little out of reach for me now but you never know.
I also have spent a good deal of time in Chicago, London, Boston and New York. All cities that are just amazing places to walk. I have not lived permanently in a large city but it is something I think I'd still like to do if given the opportunity. City living can be expensive but it's all relative I suppose, one has to live somewhere and it is always going to cost something.
But every time I've spent a significant amount of time say in London, I never tired of taking the Tube then walking and walking and walking some more. You experience so much more when on foot. I'm fortunate that walking is something that I can still do within reason...(IE: If I'm patient and take my time). I've gotten better at taking things a little bit slower these days instead of just blasting through one experience after another. I feel much more connected these days to my surroundings...and I like that feeling a great deal.
I had to take a moment here and laugh....I find it rather funny that just taking a short walk this evening provoked all this thought about my love for the out doors. I hope I never lose it. It is something I fear: that future generations are finding less reason to get out side. Some people I know seem to be quite comfortable sitting in front of their computer or the television all day. That's a recipe for a human health disaster in this society if you ask me. I certainly hope that I never live to see a day where no one goes "out to play" anymore....