I remember as a child if I told my parents I was bored, they would give me a crazy look and simply tell me to go outside. At first, I would go outside sulking because, if I am being honest, I was expecting them to entertain me. When they did not give into my wishes, I would venture out and find something to do.
As a nontraditional student, my children are the same age or close to the same age as many of you who are reading this article. And as a young mother, I found myself being on the flip side of that scenario. My children would tell me how bored they were, and you guessed it, I would tell them then go outside.
We joke about this now, but my children and I learned valuable lessons from this small statement. We learned to appreciate the outdoors, and we all thrive when we step foot outside. We did everything from making mud pies to finding hiking trails, and if we didn’t have hiking trails, we would pretend to have one in our backyard. To the horror of many of you, I did not allow my children to play video games often. In fact, for many years, we had no video games in our home. And when we did, they may have played for an hour every month. Instead, they would go outside.
As grown-ups, my children and myself have learned to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, no matter where we are. Utah has a special place in our hearts. The mountains are majestic, and the rivers feed our thirsty souls. When we find ourselves consumed with life, overthinking scenarios and feeling the pressures of society, we grab our hiking shoes and enjoy the beauty that our state has to offer. Simply put, it resets our minds.
It only takes a peek outside to see what we have at our fingertips. If you look west, you will find the beauty of the Great Salt Lake — it is spectacular, an enormous body of salt water that is not connected to the sea. If you look east, you will see the grandeur of the mountains that exist within our state, sometimes topped with white, other times with green or fiery red. The southern part of our state offers the beauty of rocks that have been through years of weather and erosion, creating amazing arches, red cliffs and hoodoos. And if you go north, you will see the Rocky Mountains take on a different form. The adventure is in getting to each of these places, for there is so much more in between. How incredible that we get to enjoy of the things Mother Nature has created.
As Edward Abbey once said, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”