Friday, June 27, 2008

Nature. What's that all about?

It’s summertime and it seems like everywhere you turn, someone is planning a trip outside. Like outside where nature is. Neighbors are going camping. Friends are going hiking. I drive down the street and see people engaging in this bizarre activity called “gardening” or “caring for their lawns.” And I feel just a tinge of regret. Why? Because my nerdy nature has denied me a relationship with Mother Nature.

As a child, I used to play outdoors just like all the other kids. Except playing outdoors meant playing in the shed in my neighbor’s yard. I simply had to walk through nature to get there. I used to ride my bike, too, but that was just to get from one person’s nice, enclosed house to another. And camping for my family always meant staying at a Howard Johnson’s where we could see trees from the closed window.

I don’t know why I didn’t get into nature or doing things outdoors. I suppose it’s because “Ultraman” was never on TV outside. My books weren’t outside either. And there seemed to be a lot of bugs and dirt, two things I could never much tolerate.

Also – and perhaps this is the most important reason of all – people get eaten by animals when they’re outside. I was convinced for many years that Great White Sharks were only pretending to be water-dwelling creatures and could, at any time, fall from the sky and consume me. (See photographic evidence below of shark at take-off.) Giant shark-shaped clouds wreaked havoc with my psyche for years and FYI, there are more giant shark-shaped clouds than you would imagine.


Bears were also a concern. Yogi Bear looked friendly but what happened when he ran out of PB&Js? In my heart I knew: first he would eat Boo-Boo and then he would eat me, that feral son of a bitch.

Don’t even get me started on the possibility of man-eating robots. Or government officials. “Soylent Green” was no secret to me.

No, I was not the smartest child.

I just feel that with the impending doom facing the planet in the form of global warming and other devastations including but not limited to floods, famine and locust (which I think are a type of kangaroo?), I should try to get to know the old girl before it’s too late. With that in mind, I’m dedicating myself to spending at least a few hours outdoors each week. Of course, that time will be spent rolling around like a human hamster in a giant clear bubble impenetrable by aquatic and/or ursine creatures. As they say, old habits die hard....

8 comments:

Lisa said...

I also used to dream of bears eating me, and of great white sharks coming out of the bathtub drain to, well, eat me. You are not alone.

Liz said...

I swear to God, those sharks can do anything -- fly, squeeze through drains. I hate them!

Tara said...

Yeah, I'm not an outdoor girl either. I don't like to sweat and I really don't like bugs or getting dirty. I see people here in GA hanging out outside of their air conditioned homes in the hot, sticky evening and I wonder if they're crazy! Go inside, there are couches and AC inside!

Anjuli said...

hahaha, that part about yogi bear is hilarious. i don't like bugs (who really does??) but I do like the outdoors mucho, mostly because there are so many amazing wonders of science out there. for example, i went on a hike last weekend and spotted a few of these bright orange newts, and i later looked them up and found out all kinds of cool science facts about them. mmm, delicious science. so nature has its nerdy side too!

Shan said...

Once I realized that "nature" didn't have a TiVo, the great outdoors kinda lost its appeal.

Shannon said...

Just starting to read this book but it's been highly recommended about reconnecting with the nature...

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (by Richard Louv)

The author calls it Nature Deficit Disorder. :)

Jen said...

It really isn't all that hard to believe that one day sharks will take over the world. A couple of years ago in Maryland we had a snakehead fish incident- those bastards could walk on LAND (well this fish equivalent of walking)using their fins, not to mention they can breath outside of water.

Evolution, while it rocks, scares the crap out of me sometimes!

Liz said...

Jen, that snakehead fish incident would have scarred me for life! I'm kind of terrified of Maryland now, despite their delicious crab cakes. :)

Shannon, I've been curious about that book for a while now. I'd seen something about it in the NY Times, I think. I'll definitely check it out.