Fishing Hunting Eating

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As a people, as living breathing human beings it is the simplest of necessities that we eat other organisms in order to grow and remain healthy. It is an act of ignorance to believe the hamburger patty at McDonalds came as is. That patty is the result of somebody else’s work to fatten a cow and process it into the patty we know.
The CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations) grow the likes of chickens, cows, and pigs in horrendous farms rife with disease and suffering. As much as they are a blight on basic human compassion, it is incredibly difficult to do anything about them. They are too much a facet of modern society around the world.
One way I find solace in eating fellow creatures is by catching and hunting them myself. With this act, I know that the organism led a happy life. I know what it ate, where it lived, how it died, and the result is a deeper connection with the food I eat, a sort of respect for the animal. I know that this animal was not fed antibiotics and food it was not equipped to eat in an attempt to fatten it as quickly as possible.
I know that this animal is wild and lived wild in life and spirit.
If I am to eat fellow organisms, I find it more humane to cleanly harvest them myself than have another person slaughter it in horrid fashion.
The same belief goes to gardening and cooking as well. I know that there are no pesticides, GMO’s, or any other adverse variations of the plant life. It was grown from clean soil and clean water and harvested by the hand that fed it.
These two food groups: meat and plants can then be mixed in the action of pure self-sufficiency: cooking.
Cooking using pure ingredients results in a dish that contains the best the land has to offer.
Therefore, to me, hunting, gardening, and cooking are important acts in a world that has gotten too used to having things handed to them. It is not cruel or too much work, just an opportunity to exercise our original human spirit as our ancestors of old had done.

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Just Go

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The alarm rings.
So gather what you’re going to bring.
Get out.
Go.

Waking up early in the morning without downing a cup of coffee is a veritable form of torture for some, leaving the warm to step out into the cold. Given this fact there are few who will make the conscious and willing decision to do so. They are missing out. It’s an entirely different world when the noise is gone. Seldom are there cars to disturb wandering across a street and the ordinarily loud birds are reduced to quiet chirps. Even within a home there is not a sound, save for the swishing of a backpack being filled with essentials. You step out and the door clicks behind you. Still silence. A deep breath filled from morning air is released and plumes out before rosy cheeks. The cold that is felt is the non caffeinated kick to wake up. A silent shiver rattles down your spine. The cold is biting at the neck and ears. As you begin to walk, you warm up, your breath increases, and you think. Perhaps in your mind you are shouting, or whispering silent thoughts. All around however, it’s quiet. Nothing disturbs you and nothing worries you. The morning stupor has left and you feel more aware of your surroundings than ever before. The sounds are sharper. Thoughts go deeper. Colors are more vivid. Wake up and wander.

Outdoors and TheOutLife

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I forget sometimes that I can’t do everything. I just get so swept up in injustice and unfairness that I just forget. But I think I’m remembering what it was like when I was inspired to care about the things I’ve come to value. I’m coming back to the way that I was taught to be passionate.
That medium was the outdoors.
Way back, my father and mother had taken me on a walk through a local state park. Not a hike, no, just a walk on a gravel road that made an outline around the lake. It was evening in the summertime, and we were on our way back to the car when a snake had moved across the path ahead of us.
My dad rushed us forward, “Let’s see if we can get it!”
Hold on.
What did he just say? I thought to myself.
When we came to the spot where the snake disappeared into the grass, I was not going to step one foot past the road and into the tall grass. Not one foot, and I was clear about that. I was scared of snakes, maybe I didn’t know why but in the end I was afraid of something for the fact that I didn’t know it. I didn’t understand what it was. My dad, being the dad of course, hoisted me on his back and we wandered into the field following the snake on his slow wiggle through the grass.
It wasn’t attacking us. It didn’t even acknowledge us and yet I remember most my father’s warmth and the setting sun and the seductive way the snake turned through clumps of grass, not the fear of this little reptile.
I was afraid of everything as a young kid, absolutely everything. My family still teases me about a Winnie the Pooh episode that had frightened me. But for once I wasn’t afraid, instead I wanted to continue following it. I wanted to continue learning about it and watching it, drinking in the fearlessness of sauntering with one of nature’s creatures.
Years pass and I was dead-set on becoming a herpetologist. My middle school 8th grade teacher gave me “class zoologist” as my graduation award.
But even though that experience changed me, I realized recently that I want to protect nature in the same way that I grew to respect it.

And that is by showing others the beauty and magic in the world.
What’s out there is stuff that we do not understand. I can say with certainty that many people who say they like fishing truly don’t grasp what that is and the best way to go about doing it. Doing something and having done it is different from being a part of it. Action is different from understanding.
I my case it could be as simple as showing people that snakes are not slimy, but muscular and even emotional. When they’re pissed, they let you know; if they’re calm you don’t even have to hold them but allow them to curl around your wrist. You can feel them tensing and relaxing with each breath.
There’s a whole new way to experience the world out there and it’s right at our fingertips if only we are taught how or show by someone the best way to experience it.
My goal is that I am going to be the same person to others as my parents were to me, the people that allowed me to get outside and learn respect for the world around me.
I am an outdoorsman and I live TheOutLife.

Funny how these things work out sometimes.

Fire and I

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Looking into the depths of a fire and following the progression of election day to the result, I couldn’t help but think of something my teacher told me.
“All your life you have an idea of where you’ll wake up the next year. In 6th grade you’ll have 7th, 7th to 8th, 8th to 9th and chances are you’ll be in the same home and same situation through all this. But in 12th grade, senior year of high school, you have no idea what the next year will bring or even where you’ll wake up.”
In-state or out of it? Part of the workforce or unemployed? With family or away in a new home?
As I stared into the fire, part of me burned; the part that was worried at this question and scared to face the future, the part that depended on other people and looked to them to make my decisions, the part that said “That’s impossible.”
It burned.
Not only are we great as a whole and together we are most powerful, but our individuality is to be treasured as well.
Who we are is not dictated by a presidential election.
Who we are is not grades and the clothes we wear and the nation we reside in.
Who we are is what we do.
What we build ourselves to be.
The actions we make in the face of adversity.
That is what makes you and I unique.
So coming together and being teammates and equals work because we come together first as individuals. This melding of different ideas is what sparks the original ones that change our future.
No matter who you voted for and what you stand for, do not forget that they are not a representation of how you should be and act.
Your life is your own to lead with the values that you think you need.
No one else is strong enough to control that.
Fight for your rights, fight for your liberty, fight for your happiness.
Use that voice individual to you,
And face the future with pride and confidence.
You can be the light in any darkness you see.
“We” is powerful,
But “I” is under rated.
And I refuse that we are represented by others. The only one that controls how others see us
is us.

Fighting for Change

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Do not for one second assume that somebody else will take care of a problem that you take issue with. Be the change you want to see in the world and strive to be a symbol for your passion.
People are going to laugh or tell you to relax or be annoyed with you or stand against you. At every step of every battle there is going to be adversity. There will always be naysayers. Don’t listen. They do not understand your fight. What you stand for is your passion and your passion alone!
There may be people that join you and support you but the reasons why will be their own. You must find solace that they joined because of what you inspired if not what you say. People may follow a leader for various reasons but it will be because they want to see more. They want to listen and follow the fuel that whirls their own fire into an inferno.
Be a match.
Be gasoline.
Start a fire within somebody and continue to fuel their fire with the power that you alone produce for them.
We all have the power to shock others into action and I say today is the day to use it!
What upsets you?
Change it!
What hurts you?
Fight it!
What do you love with all your soul and you can’t let it go until it becomes so much a part of your life that you become a fighter for it?
Show it.
And always inspire others to do the same.
Because that is where the change will come from.
You.

Outdoor Battles

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The quote, “People won’t care about what they don’t understand,” is a hard reminder to those that are environmentally conscious about our duty to educate others in the majesty of the outdoors.
The summer before sixth grade, to my utter disappointment, I was informed that the school would no longer support outdoor education. It was removed from the school budget by some bleary-eyed, phone addicted pawn in the education hierarchy because it appeared to be an unnecessary expense.
I was devastated.
It seemed I was the only one.
When asked, most people didn’t care, didn’t know, and some didn’t want to do it in the first place. The general consensus stood heavily on “doesn’t matter” and this event was pushed farther into the back of my mind. Eventually, I gave up worrying knowing that if not with the school, then at least I would have my own time to go outside anyway.
Years pass and now I understand that there is cause for concern. From the beginning, I already knew how much fun the outdoors could be. I was already of the mindset that nature is a place I can have fun and explore.
My fellow classmates however, many of them are those that needed outdoor education. The ones whose family’s time spent outside consist of walking to and from the car. The ones who told me it doesn’t matter are those that needed to be shown it does.
In no uncertain terms, humanity is explicitly connected to the wild through body and mind. The health of our environment directly translates into our own.
In a world where our food comes in neat packages and we can travel the world through a phone screen, it’s more imperative now than ever before that you and I fight for the wild world that we believe in.
If you enjoy the wild, in whatever form you employ, join me and others in becoming outdoor educators for those who are illiterate in the language of our world.

Do Not Label…

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Do not label me. I’m going to do my best to break it.
I am a person.
Who you see is not representative of who I present myself to be because no one person can show all of themselves.
I’m tall and built in stature due to a lifetime of martial arts, yet when I tell people I play tennis, I get funny looks. “You play tennis?”
When I bring cookies I baked to people I get a choke of disbelief.
“You bake? But you’re a dude!”
When I swear if I’m upset, many people recoil in surprise.
“I’ve never heard you swear before! You just swore!”
Yeah?
Well surprise mutha’-
Just kidding.
But, seriously,
How many people do you actually know?
Because still in my own life my friends whom I have grown with all my life will surprise me with something new.
“You never told me that.”
That’s right I guess, in some cases maybe you didn’t listen or I didn’t say anything but we all have aspects about ourselves that we don’t show off or we never get the chance to.
This new phrase I’ve heard bouncing around is a “Neo-Renaissance Man” and I think it should be more applicable to our day to day lives.
The present lives we lead offer us anything and everything at our fingertips. Want to learn how to breed cattle? Boom an internet forum. Want to learn to pick locks? YouTube it.
We can literally do and try anything and fashion ourselves as the very epitome of the renaissance man/women.
But the point here is this.
Many times we get stuck believing that our one thing is our thing and that anything else is unnecessary. That we can settle. Don’t. It gets boring.
Try new things, new skills, and new hobbies. If you don’t have something loan a friends or ask them to take you with them on their hobbies.
Pretty soon you entrench yourself in depth of life and knowledge and experiences and you’re just that more well-rounded.
So don’t label me. And don’t label yourself either. Nerd? No. Athlete? No. Hipster? No.
Human……?
……….Yes. I am a person.

Creativity and Solitude

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I read in a book about creativity that blue ignites it. Blue reminds the human mind of the sky and ocean and then by thinking about such broad things it results in our thinking becoming broader as well. More including of outside topics or ideas that make interesting connections in our brain.
I don’t doubt distance is a factor as well.
When I look out over alpine tundra or miles of “empty” Colorado grasslands I feel that power. What would it be like to stand in the very middle of that nothingness, miles from cars and trains and people and phones and TV’s, just a pen full of ink and a notebook? Noting myself as the only soul for miles around the land, my pen would pause. Then what?
What would you do?
Your car is a speck in the distance, so small you can’t see its shape.
A lukewarm fall wind blows past you stirring sand against your shins.
Your jeans and t-shirt are the only clothing on your body.
Your eyes look out over a vast prairie with small, lifeless shrubs and expanses of sand dotting the landscape that move off in the distance towards the silhouette of a vast mountain range.
It’s only you; nothing sparks thought or reveals itself in the bushes.
What would you think about?
Shed everything and you are there.
Who are you?
In this lonesome moment, what is it you crave most?
Seldom do we alone get to think to ourselves.
On an empty prairie, our thoughts are all that give us reprieve from the silence.
Who are we without the newscasters telling us the news, the cash register telling us the price, the music telling us the love, and our setting telling us where we are in life?
Stripped down to our thoughts, given a pen and pencil, where is it in the flow of words we find our authenticity?

The Environment and Environmentalism

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No matter ones personal associations with a word, one must still remain aware of the actual definition. A cursory glance through the internet offered me two quick definitions for environmentalism.

  1. A theory that views environment rather than heredity as the important factor in the development and especially the cultural and intellectual development of an individual or group
  2. Advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment

After this discovery I was surprised to find that my personal beliefs and the dictionary definitions for this word remain the same.


Number One

The reason why traveling is good for people is due to the fact that it is a change in environment that most of us need in our lives to continue making new ideas and touching on new boundaries. A book I read once put it best, it said:  “The experience of another culture endows the traveler with a valuable open-mindedness, making it easier for him or her to realize that a single thing can have multiple meanings. We need to completely change environments in order to feel the disorienting diversity of human traditions.”

Experiencing new things and new places automatically sets us up to make new opinions and form new views on our lives and values. The more often a person changes their setting the more often they set themselves up to learn. Most people base their values off of things they have learned so it stands to reason that based on where a person has grown up most of their life, this place is where they formulated their world view. How we behave and interact is then a result of the specific setting we find ourselves in.

While no doubt heredity is a powerful driver for character (which I take as the culmination of one’s intellectual and cultural development) learning how to see is a huge factor in a person’s development. I do believe that the first definition for environmentalism is true as I see its effects in my own life.

My friend once told me that he believes we have multiple faces. One face we show our families, one we show to our friends, and the third face we only reveal to ourselves and seldom is this face present in our daily lives. This is an extremely sound idea in that I see this philosophy in the people closest to me. This idea supports the first definition of environmentalism because the faces reveal themselves based on ones environment only during a certain state in time. If a person spends too much time in one face then they get comfortable and end up assuming that face for most of their waking time. The third face, who we really are, is one we all could spend more time with.

Finding the right environment will give us that opportunity.


Number Two

I love the environments of our natural world because of the lessons I learn while in them and I hope to preserve them for later generations. With this in mind I’d be hard-pressed not to call myself an environmentalist. There’s a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on when I’m among the trees and pristine waters. Something about my focus and sense of purpose is different and the more time I spend outdoors, the closer it feels to becoming home. It not only feels comfortable, but is almost similar to a feeling of pride. Growing up in an outdoorsy family I have had a short lifetime of opportunities to see why I want my future children to be able to have the same experiences in the outdoors. I want my children to have the same opportunities to see the world’s wild places as I have in mine generation.

It is a small representation of a bigger problem, but my favorite line is, “I don’t want to raise children in a world where Polar Bears no longer exist.”


I must be an environmentalist.

Communication

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So, can we talk?
About what?
About…
You know…
It…
The…
You know…
The…
Yeah…
Can we talk?
About what?
You know…
—————–
Just tell me.
Be honest with who you are, I’ll be honest with who I am, we’ll be honest about who we are together, and perhaps in that capacity we will grow or crumble.
Too often are we in fear of the words that come tumbling from our lips in half broken syllables and disjointed sentences.
“I don’t know how to explain it…”
“Well, it’s complicated…” Let us first release what we know we want to say and then proceed to explain our way of thinking.
Let us not be judged for the first words that spring from our mouths but the last.
After all, how will anyone truly understand where are intentions lie if our intentions are our own and we do not explain ourselves first. Do not assume you know me just as I will not assume to know you.
A conversation is a union of minds, a moment in time where two people may shed their everyday masks to engage with one other person on this great big earth in honesty. This is wholly a moment of trust between people and as you or I build trust among our peers suddenly we find ourselves sharing little bits of ourselves to the people closest to us. It does indeed come naturally to some and is a point of difficulty in others.
Want to know a trick?
Sit someone down, text them at night, write them a letter, and pour; slowly and tentatively at first to not drown the other, but do so from the hammering heart in your chest.
Nobody is inherently bad and nobody has truthfully ill intentions if they mean not to.
Give people a chance to explain. Don’t you want to know who they are? I do. And I try.