Category Archives: Lifestyle

Describe Your Dream Home (Writing Prompt)

Therapy Session

The foggy dew on the window corners harden as icy wind flows into the room. The storm he entered for only a moment though it was moment enough to seep into exposed skin and rob his fingers of youthful dexterity. The cold is like that to all living things, causing even the young to creak and ache and shudder with the chilly misgivings of sleep.
But sleep is not what he seeked among the wood pile outside stacked high in the future hope of warmth. In fact, it was quite the opposite as he dug through the snow after the trees he felled upon finding them dead, dry, and forgotten. He was keeper of these woods and he paid that position the reverence it deserved. Even in his own struggle against that last frontier an empathy for all living things brought him back to the present moment. The way they smelled when it’s warm out and the inspired feeling of fresh baked bread as it steams on a cooling tray the picture of summer days and bubbly air. And yet even in this god-awful snow the cold seemed to make the woods smell that much more of the earth, like the nearby lake as the breeze brings in a pungency reserved for fertile earth and damp autumn leaves.
“Summer never leaves these trees,” he thought quietly. And indeed, once lit the wood relinquishes the tree’s memories of croaking frogs and lightning bugs and the rays of sunset caressing its bark and warming the nutrients that flow beneath it. So that even in the dead of the coldest winter nights, warm summer sunsets can be found glaring proudly from a blazing hearth still throwing sharp shadows around anything that gets in its way.
And it did so now, the snow tamped down on the mat in front of the door began to melt and run as his breathe reminded the flame of its own life. This early morning blue hue that filtered in through the many windows of the house brought on the look of cold and yet with each exhale the blue was merged with a bright flicker from the inside and together the atmosphere was that beautifully natural white.
It was soft, gentle light that would more readily bathe a photo on the granite countertop then wake a sleeping person and jostle them in their rest. No matter what, he loved how every inch of the house felt like his, every part holding the stories of peace in the everyday. It was comfort. The house made him feel as if he was in an endless embrace from the people he held most dear, a contentment seldom felt in the world outside. The cooking tools fit his grasp and the pots and pans and plates and cups he used were each, individually his favorite. He figures, “If you don’t like something, don’t buy it,” and thus his house and the contents within were familiar and have been used for a long time- over the course of his life so far.
Breakfast he thinks to himself, errantly scratching his dog’s ears as he does every morning, enjoying the companionship he feels even while being utterly alone. It’s okay for him, this moment, as the sun rises he will be given the strength to deal with the day but for now, his weakness is his strength. The melancholy relieves the weight of existence. The dogs and plants around the rooms reminding him he can care for life, even when that feeling evades him.
He enters the kitchen and with one button, the music begins to pull him from the cliff-edges in his mind. Placed purposely, the sound encompasses him, the waves of sound swirling and replacing the air around his body with an air of wistfulness. The snap of the fire ticking in time like a metronome counting down the days of the universe. It’s important that he easily slip into that deep melancholia for the alternative is binding, trapping, and steals away his strength in the form of mentally exhausting running on a hamster wheel.
He pauses to look up at the spices hung with care from the rack above and marvels at its uncanny similarity to a forest, upside down and swaying gently, but a forest nonetheless.
How amazing it is to find garlic kin to a forest he muses and smiles gently. Already, he knows, the early hours offer introspection not like evening. In the morning he is reborn to think not of past events of the day but future events as the day moves on as if he is naked then, sleep making him now blank enough for any thought to come through the fold.
He decides on simple, eggs, the sharp crack causing the dog to nudge closer and the sound of it frying and sizzling not unlike that of a roaring river nearby as it’s muffled through the trees. This one is not for him of course, but for the other sleeping inhabitant, the one he takes pride in knowing as if every-day he meets with them anew. With the morning comes the life of those around him as they wake and shake off sleep and blink absentmindedly in the diffused light. He finds simply the act of cradling warm mugs in cold hands beautiful and inspiring so that every day is a reason to fall in love with anything exhibiting those tendencies. People are fascinating in a way that one would pick a red rose and realize how intricately the pedals seem to spiral further and further into the center.
He likes the granite in the kitchen because every drop of spice and sauce and dry basil leaves paint the surface in rich, contrasting hues. It’s almost a shame to clean it up as if one is erasing the color placed lovingly on the blank surface. Cooking is an art form kin to the writing he does on blank pages of a notebook and the recipes he assembles on those white countertops are a story of taste and a new form of adventure he finds addicting and altogether alluring.
But, the finished product, the one placed on the gnarled wooden table, that is meant to be enjoyed with eyes closed seeing the colors of smoked paprika and minced parsley against the palate.
The whole house is like that really. The way pinecones smell of cinnamon and the spice rack permeates the kitchen and the adjoining rooms with unifying fragrances while the warmest room with the crackling fire smells of the forests history buried deep within the wood’s core.
It feels as if the whole world is here, the whole of existence and what should be seen as worthwhile kept for one’s amusement in homegrown garlic hanging from a spice rack, the wine bottles plentiful and yet used slowly, blissfully and always in conjunction with conversation that is rich and purposeful and fulfilling. It’s held in the way that although not now, every tool is meant to help explore. The food eaten helps power adventures, the fishing rods and tents and sleeping bags begging to be used on a faraway riverbank, the cameras to take photos of life outside the trapping walls, and the shoes and clothes and bags meant to be taken to the world so far away from here, this moment, this pause like a deep breathe in the chase of what it truly means to live.
I finish my food and hear footsteps enter the kitchen behind me and bare feet splash the dark floor with color. The clink of silverware comes closer, my reverie is broken, my focus disturbed, and yet, now, in this moment, it’s okay.
I can feel the smile trace its way across features that have done it a thousand times before as I turn around and say through the grin,
“Good morning, sleepyhead.”
“Sleep well?”

 

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Writing for Change

Taylor View

I keep thinking that something is missing from TheOutLife brand, and I wonder often about what that spark is that’s there, and I just can’t quite put my finger on it. And then I think that’s it’s dawned on me. See, I’ve been using social media as my blog, writing long posts and long essays centered around the idea that people would be attracted to the photo and thus read the caption, and I could then write on the blog too. But Instagram and Facebook aren’t meant to be platforms where people post long essays and then wait for people to respond, they are almost advertising portfolios, I have a blog, I should use it. So, I am going to move over my daily writing posts to my blog every morning and evening in order to gain a wider audience. Hopefully, my photos attract the right people and they feel inclined to click on the “link in the bio”. Also, I need to do a better job of talking about the things that I am actually learning or the things that are changing my life in order to represent a better representation of the thinking that goes on in my head on a daily basis. Towards that end, my photos go to my insta, my writing goes on this here ol’ blog. I’m not a videographer, and I am not good at taking videos at all. But I can write and still post videos here and there and they don’t have to be on YouTube I’m finding out. This is what growth looks like, I hope…

My Fear of Photoshop and Authentic Photography

LightRoom Edit

After having downloaded the free trial of Lightroom in no small way do I understand the inherent capabilities of a high-quality photo editor. However, I worry that its use is a double-edged sword. Part of me is hesitant to change a photo too far past the original out of respect to natural photos. On the other hand, as a photographer friend told me, “using photo editors doesn’t change the fact that you have to take a good photo in the first place.”
At my high school, the photography class they offered was much more focused on edit first and take photo second. In fact, the first few WEEKS were comprised of learning how to effectively use photoshop before the class ever touched a camera.
This kind of view towards fix the problems instead of not making mistakes in the first place run rampant in all aspects of American culture and it’s evident of a loss of value in quality. The fact that we want to change what we do have to be good instead of making what we do have that much better is a backwards philosophy. Photo editors like filters and otherwise editing can send the wrong message to people who would be much better off just learning to take photos.
There is a piece of the puzzle that I definitely can agree with and that is the fact that photo editing can be another form of artistic identity and to creatively edit one’s photos is an extra step in the art form of photography. I suppose some people could argue that it’s an unnecessary step, still, it’s a step that can make photography your art form above someone else’s.
This is a step I’m just now discovering, and it’s something I expect to change me in small ways. It’s another step in my art. What is your opinion of photo editing software?

A True Relationship With the Outdoors

 

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“Obligations have no meaning without conscience, and the problem we face is the extension of the social conscience from people to land.” -Aldo Leopold from “A Sand County Almanac” (Underlined material my own work)

It’s a humbling experience when you read the quote that defines for you what your own belief system is when viewing the things that will cause true environmental change. As a journalist with my high school newspaper for a few years, I wonder at the impact news coverage of the environment actually has on people’s perception of the environment.
For a period of time I wanted to become an environmental journalist in order to spread environmental awareness beyond the position I have in society and reach a broader amount of people. But as I see so often the news coverage that the ice caps are melting and the rainforests are cut and the ocean is being polluted I wonder if society simply grows desensitized to that constant barrage of doom.

It is apparent to me that something else is required to make people not only care but also actively work to make the environment as healthy and pure as possible.
Through reading books such as those by Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N) and Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass) I discovered a pattern in people who sought after true environmental change. Those people who took a true interest in the environment claimed to also have a relationship with it that transcended simple forms of recreation.

Enter today and the quote that struck me by Aldo Leopold. The fact that “obligations have no meaning without conscience” describes the fact that all the work environmentalists may do will not always matter personally to the people they influence.

Take for example the fact that my school recycles as often as possible and yet the new incoming freshman class left a pile of trash bags in the bin destined for the landfill, while at the same time leaving all recycle options relatively empty. Although the school tries its best to reach a zero-waste goal, most of the students still don’t care or put forth the effort. Why? I believe that most people do like fishing and camping or hiking, but they don’t have the obligatory respect for the land that comes with actively trying to make a difference.

More people need to have had the experience of finding an “extension of the social conscience from the (self) to the land” and this formed relationship must be PERSONAL.

It is a sort of reawakening that occurs when we realize we owe the land around us so much more respect than we give it now.

That is what I believe when I speak of a “relationship.” Fishing is my favorite example. On one hand, I can fish and take that photo or hold that trophy up and leave the river with my memories of fun and leave it at that. Yeah, I like nature, I like fishing.

Or, I can catch that fish and take one home or let it go and either way interpret the moment as if I am reentering the food chain of the river, not as something fully human, but as something more predator and natural to the river ecosystem. This is my relationship with the natural world. I find myself resenting the trash I see and doing less of a sport and more of a returning to a lifestyle that my ancestor lived in. The health of the land directly impacts my health in enjoying it and it is my personal RESPONSIBILITY to keep it healthy.

This is my relationship. This is why I want to see and will inspire change in the world. That’s my ecological ethic and the reason why I am an environmentalist.

Environmentalism and What That Means to Me: A Collection of Thoughts

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That very real and very specific emotion we call inspiration is very different for all of us and in fact there are easily just as many people as there are sources of that profound moment. I think one of the things that truly makes it different is how people respond to being inspired. For me, the outdoors inspires me to write and share my experiences with other people in the hope that they may go out and try something new as well.
I guess put simply, my inspiration works to inspire others. Christopher McCandless (A.K.A Alexander Supertramp) once wrote “Happiness only real when shared,” and I wonder if that is inherently part of the equation. I surely like to have my moments of independence and solitude but when I come back from most any excursion I find myself wishing I could have documented just what I was feeling better. It’s not showing off in any way, but the wish that other people will want to follow in my footsteps.
I want to avoid making people feel jealous or feel like they are missing out on life as that tends to happen so often through social media, while at the same time making the time I spend outdoors as alluring as possible.
For me it’s never just fishing or just hiking but a full mind and body experience of getting out in the natural world and enjoying one’s time there to reflect and enjoy mother nature. I always struggle with the best way to convey that love and passion without seeming to aggrandize or exaggerate my experiences.
It’s beautiful and ugly, raw and refined, emotional and expressionless, and at the end of the day I hope that other people find this relationship as well. I don’t fish to catch fish. I fish to experience the process and environment and philosophy in fishing. I don’t take photos to show off, I try to capture moments and feelings and experiences in 1/1000th of a second.
The “outdoors” is so much greater than the sum of its parts that it’s hard not to be in love with the natural world and all it stands for.
Even that in itself is hard to explain. I believe that the reason environmentalists so often resort to pathos to further their messages is because so much of what they stand for is because they genuinely care about experiencing things on an emotional level. They cannot explain to someone easily about care for the habitat along banks of rivers until that person truly realizes the weight that the area carries for the health and well-being of the entire river ecosystem. It’s not just fishing. It’s a relationship with the natural world through fishing.
Also, those that have the gift of art and a love for the outdoors have a responsibility to bridge the gap between science and the layman using the universal messages in photography and painting and writing. Although only two weeks into my first year of college, I’m realizing why it is so difficult to try to relate to those who are not as educated or not as aware of the world around them. Being truly educated means you can view the world in such a way that you are constantly capable of connecting things to bigger questions, not the shallow, surface equation of things that occur in life.
A formal education is of course not the only way to find this state of mind, but it’s no surprise that there is a significant correlation between one’s level of intelligence and perceived level of conservative thinking or not being open to new things, new people, and new ways of viewing the world.
My goal with my college career is to take a college education and meld it with a very personal and involved approach of environmentalism through the use of social media and content creation to try and bridge the gap between the science and the people.
We are told so often that “the ice caps are melting,” “rainforests are being cut,” and “pollution is producing smog” that pretty soon we are desensitized to hearing about it and no longer care or perceive what that means. The people that try hardest are those personally effected by it.
Now, we come full circle to inspiration. I believe that in order to be inspired to protect the environment, all people need to not just spend more time outdoors but have a better relationship to it when they do go out.
To me taking someone fishing does not mean they care about nature, they just like fishing. We as outdoorsman and outdoor enthusiasts need to instill a respect for the things we do along with the time we spend outside doing it.
That’s is the OutLife. That is the message I started. And that is the philosophy I believe in.

Forged Knives, Handmade Goods, and How It Affects Our Natural State of Mind

Fire

(Photo of master blacksmith at AsanoKajiya handmade knife and Japanese sword company. Check out their site here.)

I think often of how when society leans further and further towards cheap, machine-mass produced goods, we lose an aspect of what is natural in the loss of value towards human made goods. I’m not saying that it will always be any better quality, but for a lot of the goods, people produce them because they feel strongly about what they make.

Having and owning goods made with that passion or attention to pride in one’s goods is an aspect of “natural” that I place great trust in.

The reason why I have such a passion and interest in the natural world is because I have a relationship with the outdoors. Along this same road, people who have a passion for the goods they produce have that special relationship with their work that is missing from most machine-made items. The human connection to the work is strongest when things are made by hand.

TheOutLife focuses heavily on Nature and the importance it plays on our lives, but nature is not only for the forests and lakes and streams but also applies to how close something is to natural. And natural goods have always been handmade. By bearing in mind that natural goods are made naturally, we gain a new way to connect with the life and wild world around us.

We need to create a pervading view that human beings are not above work and use the world in the same way a beaver may build his den or a bird builds its nest. They don’t use tools to live, they produce the means to live themselves.

Automation brings people further and further away from what being a responsible consumer means. It’s consumerism that cuts swathes of forests and automation that means people never see what the cost of living does to the natural world. Getting our hands dirty or seeing the people who do is what truly makes us value the things we own.

Recently, I took a trip to Japan and had the opportunity to forge a knife with a master blacksmith in his shop. As he talked about his art, he said that although he loves and sees beauty in his finished products, it’s the process that he sees the most beauty in. He takes his pride from the process, not the result. This view is never going to come from a machine assembly line like it does when someone has a hand in the process.

So, how do handmade knives correlate to the belief in what is natural?

They are made by hand.

And it is the human hand that will make or break the natural world.

Cloudy Mornings and Meditative Brain Waves

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Studies have shown that the brain produces patterns that mimic those seen during meditation when it responds to nature or natural scenes and suggests that it is indeed meditative to hike, fish, or camp in the outdoors. These waves, known as Alpha waves, are present during deep relaxation and are thought to produce an organic sense of calm and peacefulness. This sense of comfort is closely associated with natural phenomena called “fractals” that are a specific complex pattern that our human brains instantly pick up and recognize. Because of the brains ability to predict these patterns it becomes less distracted by extraneous sensory stimulation and leads to a meditative state. It’s almost as if with nothing to react to, our entire body takes a deep breathe.

In normal life within cities and urban areas, our brains are constantly reacting to some sort of stimulation and never have a chance to slow down. Whether or not we realize it, this high-strung state of attention impacts our very ability to think. The cars we see as fast-moving predators, the airplane flying overhead distracts our ability to hear, and then our phones and TV’s and music further dampen the quiet thoughts that swirl gently in the back of our mind.

Nature, at least to our senses, is predictable and stable so it gives our brains a chance to breathe.

Now, as I write this blog post I’m sitting on a porch swing the morning after a rain storm, the air is chilled, and the sky is a beautiful mess of clouds slowly undulating as they make their way through the air. The thing is, I can FEEL those brain waves. It’s in the way the next thought and next sentence comes through without thinking as if this entire paragraph is already written in my head and all that comes next is to put it down on paper. I can hear the cooing of a morning dove and the way the birds tweet happily in the wet air, their song pausing only to eat a surfaced worm and fly it back to their young.

Although I sit on the front porch at my home right smack in an urban neighborhood, I am able to find the flow of life thick and deep when the world and light is subdued by mother nature’s natural events.

Watching Robins catch worms, writing, swinging on the porch swing with my golden retriever snuggled next me, it’s little wonder why inspiration hits strongest when nature is present. I’m so familiar with this sense of peace that it’s become an addiction for me to seek out and experience.

The world outside is beautiful. If you’re not already out there, go find where you feel happiest.

Go find some Alpha waves.

Real Memories and Manufactured Feelings: The Difference Between TV and OutLife

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During a recent camping trip, a bolt of lightning struck a nearby mountain and the resulting thunder was the loudest and most severe crack I think I’ve ever heard. Immediately, those at camp looked at each other in shock and the ones out gathering fire wood came running back in a half panic lacking any of the wood they had gathered. I was laughing in the way you’d laugh after getting off an intense roller coaster while some of my group wished for that sound to never again happen in their lifetime. Then, if that weren’t enough, the following downpour was so heavy that we were sitting on the table portion of our picnic table and huddled under the canopy above us. To make things even worse, the smoke from our sputtering fire started to push under the canopy after we had lowered it and so it was a cold, wet, burning lung mess as we were truly caught between two terrible options, pouring rain or choking smoke.

After the rain, bleary eyed and coughing, we emerged from under the canopy, raised it back up, and continued the evening preparations. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that at this point we had to use flashlights to see anything.

It was a heck of a way to spend the evening.

But, I absolutely loved every second of it and have decided that it is among my favorite camping memories.

It was scary like a roller coaster ride.

The moment was riveting as a car chase.

And it was as difficult as the final boss in a video game.

But, and the reason why I used simple examples, is that these things I compared lightning to are manufactured examples of organic thoughts and emotions. The video games and theme parks are just attractions that monetize the exact same feelings that we can have in the outdoors for free.

Theme parks sell fear and adrenaline when the ear-splitting roar of a thunder crack and flashing lightning will inspire in the mind and body the same fight or flight response.

Television and movies sell excitement and edge-of-your-seat anticipation when the first few seconds after a lightning strike will do the same thing as you wait for the thunder to follow.

The whole situation itself was time consuming to work around and difficult to deal with as there were elements outside of my control that I had to deal with.

In every single aspect of the outdoors there are things that will show you the beauty and danger and magic in the world but we insist on receiving those feelings manufactured and reconfigured for us on TV screens and attractions.

Fear is fear as excitement is excitement, there is no chemical difference from fear adrenaline and excited adrenaline except for your own frame of reference for that situation.

When we experience something, see and taste and feel and hear, that thing becomes a memory of something we did, not a memory of someone else’s life. For this reason, I find it hard to play video games or watch TV anymore as those actions are so empty that many times they cease to perform any function at all but a way to kill time. As humans, our lifespans are short and precious yet within that time there is so much that we could actually do.

Yet a book CAN become an experience to be paired with getting outside our house and car and reading in a hammock on a mountaintop. Books travel with you and thus become essential to you in a way that transcends videos and movies. It’s an effort to read a book, to pick it up and flip the pages instead of turning it on and passively laying and vegetating on a couch or chair. Books tell you “Take me on an adventure” and urge you to have a journey on two fronts.

Manufactured goods are nothing new and we grow up with a plethora of options before us, manufactured foods, emotions, and experiences all fall under the same title. Yet when we dig deeper and see what happens when we gorge on the easy way out, we all dissolve hopelessly into decadence.

The outdoors is one path towards real life. But, put simply, we will discover who we are in the process of pursuing things that are natural and true and honest to character building.

That is why I fight for what‘s real.

That is what I believe to be the natural way of life.

Leaving the Boxes to Claim Our Freedom: Why We Go Outside

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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.

 

A Passion Found in a Relationship

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It’s difficult to describe the emotional connection I have to the mountains and forests. It’s as if when I’m back in my city neighborhood the world loses so much meaning and understanding replacing it with societies smothering asphalt.

I know how to fish and where they will be and what I have to do to catch one. I know how the flames of fire spark up into kindling in a certain way so I have to construct the fire carefully. I know where each step is placed and the way animals leave their memory as prints and tracks and burrows and dens. These things I no longer think about. I no longer have to question my actions because I do and think things instinctually, immediately, and with confidence. There are no convoluted aspects to learn unless the outdoors is something you have never experienced because it is all about instinct, feeling, and emotion. A love for the wilderness is a relationship with place, with the earth, and something so fundamental to the human spirit that we cannot describe to what we are attracted to.

At first, I was taught to live with mother nature, and now the skills I have most developed have no place in this modern world.

Aldo Leopold said that, “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

This concept readily applies itself to any mode of outdoor recreation. Many people do not understand the learning curve in a hobby like fishing where all they have to do is “cast a line and sit on the shore” when the place they sat and the way they weighted their line and where they casted all matter to their success. As an outdoorsman, like how an ecologically minded person may see a world of wounds, I see a world of ignorance “in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

Fishing is not easy. And though I am capable of doing it, that knowledge holds no place in the world. It doesn’t matter outside of the rivers and lakes of the outdoors.

Thus, in nature is where I feel most comfortable. Suddenly, the way I’ve lived my life is being used. My knowledge is not in movies or video games or electronics, but I can start a fire with flint and steel and catch a rainbow trout for dinner.

This awareness of my passion is nothing new, I have always been this way. Going through school and life knowing the outdoor love I have curated is useless in modern times.

Yet somehow, I hold onto the glimmer of hope that my connection with the natural world will become useful. Someday I’ll be able to connect a passion with a job or existence where I’m able to continue this relationship.

Until that day comes, I write. I sometimes get to see the mountains around me. And hope that maybe through my struggle, others will find the nature in their lives as well.