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Outside quagmire

W. Kenneth Medley II • Apr 21, 2019 at 12:00 AM

If one has not noticed spring has walked into East Tennessee. The sun has been shining and temperatures rising. This creates the greatest quagmire for outdoor enthusiast that work in an office.

Many have to be outside for much of their work and then return to the sheltering walls of an office space. That can take on many shapes, forms and conditions but inside is inside. If nature is your church, then the walls can be claustrophobic and debilitating.

The worst thing is trying to focus on work while constantly being drawn to BOB (Big Orange Ball, a.k.a. the sun). Knowing the sun is shining and it is shorts weather, but being obligated to the digital eye killer under the fluorescent fakes takes anxiety to a new level.

At times I feel like carrying my laptop and charger to the parking lot and plugging into the 110v plug on my Jeep. Working from the back under the sun and out of the constraints of concrete and the modern world just enough. Still being close enough that the boss would not get aggravated.

This of course is just a fantasy. The modern world dictates that we have internet connectivity and the speedier the better. The IT guy is right there if one encounters a problem. The boss can walk out of his office and say, “come here,” when he needs.

Layer upon layer of bureaucracy trickled into every facet of life requires one to be present in the concrete of modern society. Today in the U.S. more people live in urban municipalities than the rural landscapes that dominated until circa 2007.

This is because most of what life requires cannot be found in rural landscapes at an affordable price. Small farming, fossil fuel extraction and other economic strategies are no longer enough to sustain a family in most rural places. Property taxes alone can sometimes require one to leave, or sell, the farm and adventure into the concrete layers of the urban landscape.

For those who were raised in the wilderness, sometimes this means losing oneself. Trying to sustain a desired lifestyle can be challenging, and one must choose different paths to achieve ones desired level of success. That is where the constraints of an office begin to collide with the desire to adventure.

Balance is sought and eventually gained. Splitting time between the environment desired and the one required. Keeping the outside in one’s heart while typing away inside. After all, bills must be paid and diapers bought.

With spring’s arrival BOB is out more and welcoming. Johnson City has a ton of events planned and quickly descending upon us. Thankfully, for 2019 there seems to be a social trend to clean up illegal dumpsites at outdoor recreational locations and some just random locations.

I look forward to joining many steward groups from mountain bikers to off-road enthusiasts with my family to clean some of these locations. The local Tri-Cities Jeep Club has a clean up coming and I look forward to joining them for the first time for the event. I will be taking my children with me as well.

One can never start teaching conservation too early.

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