Let us close our eyes a moment and imagine two scenarios.
In the first scenario, you wake up from camping and find yourself to be very cold, arm hugging and shivering cold. It’s not the fact that you don’t have enough clothes on but the clothes you just put on were sitting in the cold air and are now doing little to help you warm up. Thinking of your options, you look at the comfort of your car nearby and getting inside, you turn the car’s heater on full blast to warm yourself for a moment. Although out camping, the car is your escape from the elements. Once heated, you shut off the car and resume your adventure in the great outdoors.
In the second scenario, instead of looking at the car you think of the way your dad told you to do jumping jacks to stay warm and you decide to take a jog. Not a simple jog though, you decide to begin bounding around rocks and trees and moss and grass, hopping to and from small boulders in the ground like a mountain goat, just for fun. Your breathing picks up and although you begin to tire, your warmer than you were before. Suddenly, you have too many clothes on and you take off the thickest jacket and set it on a camp chair. You are wide awake, smiling at your childish scramble, and ready to take on the day.
Here’s what I see. If we are out in the world confronting our difficulties and making physical memories whether they be good or bad, we are in tune with our life, limits, and abilities. To sit in the car and passively wait to warm up is a waste of the internal fire we all have inside of us. It’s an acceptable form of laziness because from a young age, most of us are taught that getting from point A to point B is the same no matter what path one chooses. Yet although the end result of getting warm was the same, the inherent process of both ways fundamentally changes a person.
On a recent camping trip, I was both option A and B. There wasn’t enough fire wood to have a morning and evening fire and recent rain kept everything damp enough to be useless this early in the morning. As the first one up, I wondered if sitting in the car wouldn’t really be cheating. I mean, I deserved it right? The key was in my pocket. I have the license, I should’ve just done it.
But to me, that’s just cheating. I don’t want to put myself from the box of the tent straight into the box of the car and continue ignoring the fire in my heart. That bit of wildness is something we all have inside of us, it’s constantly growing and itching to be let out. Whether TheOutLife is sports for you or the outdoors for me, that wildness already has the answer for a lot of life’s maladies.
I think what begins to happen is we no longer know what the rain feels like on the skin because it becomes such a bad thing.
“Oh no! It’s raining!” “Everything is soaked!” “It’s putting out the fire!”
All the time we hide in these boxes to escape weather, yet to me, that weather is another step towards a true relationship with the wilderness. To remember that we can’t control the weather or the temperature forces us to think of our own resiliency.
I could’ve just said, “It’s cold, I give up,” but instead I did what I have the given ability to do.
I lit a fire within my heart.
As I ran it burned and the fire continued to crackle long after I had sat down.
TheOutLife is all about making the decisions that will show us what mother nature really is. It reminds us that natural processes of life are experiences to rejoice in and what doesn’t kill us makes us that much stronger.