A friend recently confided that it took him 25+ years to genuinely appreciate the outdoors. He grew up with skyscrapers, sidewalks, people, “lots and lots of people,” and being in nature would make him nervous because no one was around. “The quiet,” he admitted, “scared the shit out of me.”
For those who have had a chance to listen to pine needles bristling in the breeze, ice grinding on granite, lakes whispering, and animals chattering, you know that nature is never silent. There is a rhythm I have yet to fully understand (and maybe never will), but in trying to learn it I’ve come to realize that for my friend, and many others, the outdoors isn’t scary; it is unfamiliar.
How often do we conflate what is strange and foreign to something dangerous and threatening? The outdoors can be unpredictable, like anywhere else, but is it wise to fear the unknown?