Making Excuses to Spend Time in Nature

I think a large number of people — maybe even a majority — need an excuse these days to spend time in nature.  For many of us, there has to be a purpose to it.  Fishing or hunting, exercise, sight-seeing, inspiration — whatever the reason, there must be some reason.   And, in a way, that’s strange.

It’s strange because we didn’t always need an excuse to be in nature. For most of our evolutionary history — for perhaps 260,000 years — we lived in nature because we had to.  There was simply no escape from it.

Yet, today, we live in cities that while not entirely artificial, are about as artificial as we can make them.  And — for many of us — we feel we need an excuse to get away from that — an excuse to get back to nature.

Isn’t that odd?  Our species grew up in nature.  In many ways, we are probably even today more profoundly adapted to nature than to the cities we live in, and yet we must make excuses to spend any time at all in nature.

10 thoughts on “Making Excuses to Spend Time in Nature

  1. ture, we look for excuses to be with nature. the concrete jungle which we have all around us, the materialistic life, high ambitions, the zeal to do something and acquire all the latest and possible comforts have taken us far far away from the bearuty of nature.
    to be amidst nature gives peace and provides us ideal enviornment to think with clarity and rationailty and find out solutions to our so many problems

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  2. Sure,but if we are serious why should we look for excuses?Truth is that we are becoming too involved and also the Condos we have started living in gives us reasonable facilities like laundry,electrician.plumber etc.With life focusing more on profession and success we are forgetting nature.Well there we are.

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  3. It’s a rarity but on this one I disagree with you Paul.

    Humans, as I understand it, are pretty rubbish in terms of being physically adapted to any particular environmental niche. Rather, thanks to our intelligence, throughout our evolutionary history from, I’m guessing, the australopithicines onward we’ve adapted our environment to suit ourselves rather than relying on natural selection to adapt our bodies to suit our surroundings, as every other species does.
    Cities are the natural culmination of this effort, environments totally sculpted to suit the human animal (plus some others that just so happen to be pre-adapted).

    On a personal level the city environment makes me stressed, so I live in the suburbs where I can wander about in the local woodland etc which I find relaxing. If I were forced to live in that environment though, even if I had Bear Grylls’s knowledge, I’d never be as comfortable there as the crows, deer and squirrels that I’d be sharing the land with.

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  4. How could anything not be natural? Absent superstition, every “man-made” artifice is equally a product of the infinite web of universal relationships as is the Grand Canyon or Ayers Rock – even the electronic text from which you composed this post.

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  5. Yes! While out fishing several years ago, I realized that I really had no desire to catch a fish – I didn’t want to have to face it while I ripped a hook out of its face and let it go, just for my entertainment. Realized I didn’t really like fishing at all – I just liked being out on the water, in nature, and that hunting fish was just a lame excuse …. nowdays I spend much more time out in nature, and I don’t fish at all.

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  6. Though I live in a lego-size house on a postage-stamp plot of land, the trees and yard are a completely overgrown little forest and the deck is a little tree-house and we can’t see anyone else, pretending to be on vacation watching and hearing the birds as we sip iced coffee and tea and read or type on our lap-tops or…just sit. Though we live in a crowded suburb, we’ve gotten rid of our lawn and brought nature close to home.

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  7. One of the great things about being a biker is that when I am on the road I am a part of surroundings. That may sound funny coming from someone who loves the sound of a big V Twin as they cruise through the hammocks of south Florida, but it is true. Traveling by motorcycle is much more physical than sitting in a cage and watching it all go by like some drive-in movie.

    I don’t fish anymore, too boring. And like teapot happens said, I realized I really never liked fishing. I just like being out on a river or stream.

    Every year I try to make a couple road trips to distant places. I pack my sleeping bag and tie it to my front fork. Then I pack my saddle bags, right one clean clothes, left dirty. I usually take off and spend a week or two just going where ever I end up. Even though I am now in my 60s I get up stiff, but refreshed during these ventures.

    I make no excuses, I just go. It brings out the neanderthal in me.

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  8. I believe you, Ed. My brother used to live in Dallas. When I would visit him, he’d dismissively tell me outdoor stuff was for kids. Then he moved to Denver. Nowadays, he sounds more like me than I do, and it’s hard to get him indoors on weekends.

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