June 2014

June 2014 Blog of Education

Summer Charge


June Blog of Education Estela Wilderness Education

Who wants to workout indoors when this can be your gym?

June marks the start of Summer for most.  School-aged kids are more visible during daytime hours and co-workers are trading weekend coverage more so than usual. Outfitters and amusement parks are generally open for business as of Memorial Day weekend and all the workings of the summer season are found in grocery store seasonal sections, community event calendars and the smells of barbecues in parks and open spaces. While anytime is a good time to get outside, Summer is a great time. The days are long, the weather is favorable and you’re likely to find more opportunities to try something new. You can almost say there is energy in the air, a charge if you will. Charges can be physical like a run up a hill, financial like those transactions made with a card, electrical like those running through power lines or challenges like this one. I charge you with this…try something new and learn from it.

It is easy to fall into a routine of laziness in the summer. The warm weather air surrounds you like a blanket and next thing you know you’re sitting around instead of running around. Summer holds so many opportunities and when the season eventually passes you can choose to reflect on what you tried or regret the chances you let pass by. Start your summer with the understanding it is finite and the next one is 3 seasons away. With this understanding and awareness you will capitalize on each opportunity and make your summer memorable and educational.

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Visit a new place, experiment around the grill with something exotic, try learning skills using different equipment. All of these experiences provide perspective and the more angles you can see the world from, the clearer the picture you have. Need  ideas? Go deep sea fishing, try out a stand up paddle board, try out a tandem bike, go ride a horse, take a chairlift to the top of a ski resort hill, learn how to press grapes into wine, go birding, teach a child how to fish, the list goes on and on. Maybe try something that scares you. Of course, do this under professional supervision if it is something like facing heights, swimming with sharks or firing a firearm. Professionals will make sure safety measures are observed and you’ll be able to face your fears and live to talk about them. Maybe your fear is something you know little of. I’ve always believed you should know your enemies and if fear is something which causes you weakness, at least facing it and learning about it is a step in the right direction to conquering it. This only makes you stronger.

I charge you to be more active. If you are unwilling to do something new, do whatever you do more and better. Summer is a time when hiding in the comfort of air conditioning is more comfortable than sweating it out in the sun. Fight off this temptation and just walk out the door. The discomfort will make you stronger and tougher. If you’re a runner, don’t let the summer rains stop you. Challenge yourself to run a mile a day regardless of the weather. By September you can say you ran almost 100 miles, in one summer. I’ve never known someone to regret the feeling of satisfaction after a workout or regret the feeling of self-improvement after. People will curse
how they feel physically after a workout but rarely emotionally. Learn more about yourself through doing more in every condition summer hands you.

So, what will your summer look like? Please don’t sit behind your computer reading online forums, posting to Facebook, posing questions to discussion boards about traditional skills and bushcraft and reading websites/blogs like this one.  I personally can’t wait for mine and even when I’m not training, writing or traveling, I will find ways to challenge myself. Before we know it, summer is going to give way to fall. I’m going to savor each day of my summer and make the most of it. Will you?

Post Script: This idea of the charge is not mine originally. I recall May 2004 graduating from Trinity College with my M.A. and the commencement speaker, Dr. Ruth, charging us to use our knowledge productively. When she walked by me, she was not taller than my armpit but she was powerful beyond words in her message. Now, 10 years later, I continue to follow her charge and pay it forward to you.