Saturday, December 29, 2012

What are the Family-Outdoors?

From 2012-08-05
As my kids get older, I am confronted with a question about what the dynamic is relating family and the outdoors. My boys are now 19 and 22. They still love outdoor activities, and we still do a lot together, but face it Dad, they are moving towards their own lives.

Of course my wife and I do a lot outdoors, but mostly that's our evening walks with two crazy dogs that do a poor job as a substitute for kids. Now, those walks are our pressure relief valve from real life, and they are much better when we go together. Frankly, I am a bit suprised we each feel that way. I just know that when I go alone, and I see wildlife, a beautiful sunset or moonrise, or some field filled with wildflowers, I wish she was there.

I have always felt the same regarding hunting and fishing trips. There is just a little less satisfaction in the experience when not shared with one of my boys. One thing that gives me satisfacton is that I know they will feel the same with regard to the experiences they have with their kids someday. It may not be hunting or fishing, it may be camping or photography, or something else. I believe they sense value in natural experience, and particularly so with someone you care about.

My oldest son, engaged to be married soon, has begun to form this relationship with his future wife. She is not crazy about hunting or fishing, so camping trips to beautiful places like Colorado's Flattops have been their shared experience. Watching them enjoy these experiences have brought me great pleasure.

My youngest son has a particularly intimate relationship with the outdoors. His happiness is intertwined with his outdoor life. In college, he carves out time almost daily to unwind in the outdoors. He discovered this form of "therapy" through the experiences we shared as a family.

Our family has found its greatest moments in the wilds of Monana, the Ozarks, Colorado, and Michigan. They are carried in our hearts everywhere and at all times.