REAL MEN are TREE-HUGGERS.
Now before you conjure up weird images of hippies and circles of love, let me explain. What I am referring to are “naturalists.” “Outdoorsman.” People who appreciate nature and wildlife. In the modern world, many of us have lost touch with our roots. We don’t interact much with nature anymore. We can’t tell you the difference between one tree and another. We don’t look at the stars anymore. We don’t hunt or gather our food anymore. We stopped observing wild animals. With all of our modern conveniences, we have become out of touch with our place in the natural world. So what do I mean tree-hugger? Let’s look at some skills the modern tree-hugger may have.
HUNTING and FISHING: These have been skills men have performed for thousands of years. Hell, as long as we have been around we have done this. It used to be a means to survive. Now we go to Kroger and pick up the prepackaged crappy steak. I am not talking about “sport-fishing” or “trophy hunting.” That is an issue to take up with the ego. I am talking about hunting and fishing as a means of providing food. I am talking about a means of getting out in nature and FEELING the natural order of things. Watching the animals and fish with all of their vitality.
GROWING, GARDENING, and FORAGING: Again, skills that we have used for thousands of years. Our lives depended on it. What did we grow? What didn’t we grow? Fruits, vegetables, nut trees, herbs, seeds, you name it. This was not just a means to provide food. It also provided an opportunity to learn about the cycles of life. The cycles of the seasons. Where OUR place is in the bigger whole. Most of our produce is flown in from other parts of the world now. Getting in touch with farmers markets and learning about what is in season in your area is a great start. Learning about “wild edibles” is another great way to start learning these skills.
HIKING and CAMPING: This is a huge topic which entails a wide variety of skills. This can be anything from a stroll through the woods, to full-blown camping trips. The more involved the better. Just walking through nature is great. Adding in skills such as chopping firewood, creating shelters, finding water and food, protection, etc are all great as well.
NAVIGATION: Real men are navigators. We always have been. We invented the compass. We invented maps. Modern man created GPS. GPS is great and all. I have one. They come in handy. But what about old-school navigation? The stuff that put you in touch with your environment. Reading the sun and the moon cycles. North, south, east, and west. Polarity. Star charts. Reading the wind and weather patterns intuitively. These are all great ways to build your inner tree-hugger.
OUTDOOR EXERCISE: Why do many of us feel that we need to sit inside a stuffy gym working on static machines to achieve our fitness goals? There didn’t used to be any “gyms.” There weren’t machines dedicated to this stuff. What happened to kayaking, gathering wood for a fire, doing hard yard work, gardening, swimming, jogging outdoors, etc. Getting outside is almost always a better choice.
COURAGE to APPRECIATE: Real men have the ability to stand up and admit that they appreciate nature. That we appreciate it’s beauty. It’s elegance. It’s power. When did loving nature become something of a bad thing? Was it our technology driven economy? The explanations are endless. Men have been marveling at nature since we have been on this planet. Let’s not change that now.
Many of us want to get back INSIDE as opposed to getting back OUTSIDE. Inside is great. Let’s not forget about the other side of life though either =)