Friday, May 16, 2014

The Price of Success

In my teaching and writing I have championed the idea of people getting outside to see the real world of nature: to walk in the woods, to hike in the mountains, to even get rained on once in a while, to see that the real world consists of trees, not of fake lumber-paneled boardrooms. This is especially important for children, who might otherwise grow up in front of a video game screen. My publicity on this point has not been mainly in an entry in my obscure (but good!) Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, and not as extensive as that of RichardLouv, but my message, like his, has been that people should take their kids outside in the woods.

Meanwhile, I like to walk in the silent woods and be alone. You can see where this is going. The more that people take their kids out in the woods, the less silence and aloneness I can enjoy in those same woods. As a matter of fact, I used to be able to drive to Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness and park in the lot and walk around the woods and bluffs. Now it is almost impossible to find a parking place there. Lots of parents and church groups and home schoolers take their kids there. And kids will do what kids will do. But at least they are not carrying electronic equipment with them and living in their internal worlds when they are out in the woods. And if I don’t like rambunctious kids, too bad. This is the price of success. I am happy to report that my aloneness in the woods is often disturbed by kids learning, at least a little, about nature.

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