By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
I’m an Adventurer.
I like to think of myself as a capitol “A” kind of Adventurer, I always have. When I was a girl I would spend every moment I could outside, playing.
On rainy Saturdays I’d stay in and watch old movies on my black and white television. My favorites were “Tarzan of the Apes” and Errol Flynn and his swashbuckling pirate movies. I also liked watching cowboys and Indians shoot ‘em up and lawmen bring justice to the West.
I also loved the Mutual of Omaha wildlife documentaries — but only as long as it was raining. On a clear day? I was outside.
I never have thought of myself as particularly athletic — I can’t run fast, jump high or throw hard — but I love being outside, I always have.
My childhood was spent roaming the neighborhood. We rode bikes or played kickball all day long. We went on bug safaris, dug in the dirt and built stuff.
After breakfast we’d head out the door and be gone all day. We were out Adventuring. Our moms wouldn’t see us until they called us in for supper.
As I got older we moved to the country. I didn’t have a gang of kids to hang out with, but I soon made friends. We would ride down to the river on horseback and be gone all day. Our moms never worried — at least not much. What could happen?
My grandkids won’t have that kind of childhood. The world has changed; the Wilderness of Childhood is gone.
Kids slay dragons in video games, and they are rarely allowed to go on adventures that take them any farther than their own backyard — at least not without adult supervision. If they want to learn about something they can look it up on the Internet. They just Google it.
It’s effortless, it’s easy and, I believe, it keeps children from making a real and empathetic connection with the natural world and its creatures.
I think it is in the looking, studying, thinking and puzzling that we start to make a connection to the world outside of ourselves. It restores our creative energy, keeps us healthy, interested and strong.
When was the last time you took the time to study a flower, watch a beetle crawl across the ground or simply watch clouds or the moon roll by across the sky?
Why not go Adventuring in your back yard today? You’d be amazed at what you find, if you take the time to look.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer who enjoys watching and photographing the wildlife in her own backyard in Cinebar. Visit her wildlife and outdoor encounters photography blog, The (Almost) Daily Bird, at http://blogs.chronline.com/dailybird. Contact her via email at email@example.com or call 269-5017 to share unusual wildlife observations, or to discuss upcoming events and topics you would like to see covered in The Chronicle Outdoors section.