Monday, November 10, 2008

Introducing the NEW and IMPROVED..... Outside!

After spending all day outside at the coast, I was standing in line at the grocery store, glanced over at the newstand and read a headline that caught my attention: visits to National Forests are down. I bought the newspaper.

The article lobbed several reasons for the decline, from increased gas prices to increased fees in the forests. Many of the proposed reasons may have merit. I have some other ideas: (1) Wild areas are not "safe," and (2) there is no one to tell you what to do.

Most of us spend a good part of our out-of-the-house time in commercial establishments. When we go to the store, the floors are smooth and clean. Store managers work hard to make sure there is nothing to trip over or cause any customer injury. Information is all around and store employees are generally close and helpful.

In the workplace, we have expections that the premises are safe for us and that we will be warned when something is not safe. Employers have major incentives to prevent on-the-job injuries. We have safety meetings and employee handbooks.

The products we buy come with instructions and warnings. Owners manuals, stickers and warning labels guide our every move in relation to the product.

But when we go outside into a "wild" area, we are suddenly bereft of such coddling. There are poisonous plants, scary animals and stinging insects. We might get lost. We have to learn on our own and take care of ourselves. Isn't it easier just to go to the mall?

Seemingly on the tail of the newspaper article, I then read this. With the realization that there's money to be made here, by golly, might we find someone to pamper us sufficiently that we'll actually head back to the woods?

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